The big trip

Where have you been riding? Tell us all about your trip. Prove it with pictures! If ya didn't take pictures, it didn't happen...
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Manscout
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Re: The big trip

Post by Manscout » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:17 pm

Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Year's to both of you!
"It goes nowhere fast, and everywhere cool".

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Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:51 pm

Hi all Uralistas,
Palenque was very interesting with mostly an indigenous population. A big culture jump after the Yucatan which has a population of much more European descent. It is back up in the hills again with spectacular ruins just outside of town. These are set in in the jungle with the main buildings on the hills, very different to what we had seen before. We were able to really enjoy wandering around as the temp’s were much more benign. Only a small fraction of the site is cleared, in its heyday the city had over 100,000 people. Still it is was worth the visit.

The other tourist attractions are 2 waterfalls Aqua Azual which is 60k away not far in theory but it took 2 hours to get there. Lots of small villages with topes and vendors, in some they hold a rope across the road to slow you down to buying sped. Needless to say we are too loaded to buy souvenirs. I have got very good at ‘No gracias’ as we cruise by. At the entrance to the waterfall we were surrounded by a swarm of mini vendors the oldest probably no more than 7. A polite, no gracias cut no ice here, these guys made used car salesmen look like amateurs. No progress was possible until a purchase was made. We got barbecued banana strips and nuts like chestnuts. After a long haggle 20 pesos changed hands and we were free to go.

The falls were spectacular a long series of falls with a turquoise colored water and white foam surrounded by lush green jungle. Definitely worth the drive. On the way back we visited the second falls. This one was your standard 200m drop into a large swimming hole. Under normal circumstances pretty dam impressive but a definite second place on the day. Being surrounded by such beautiful scenery and spectacular landscapes can make you quite blasé.
Back to town for dinner at a cocina economica, we got a roasted chicken, rice, beans, veg and torts for 120 pesos for both of us. Once you get off the tourist patch it is possible to eat well very cheaply. The only problem is the lack of greens in restaurants. It would be tough to be a vegetarian here.

The sites of Palenque done, it was time to hit the road again. Outside of town we met 3 fellow travelers a Dutch guy, his Philippino girlfriend and an American. They had met the American in Guatemala after starting in Buenos Aires. They gave some info on S. America and looked the bike over, their GS1200 was loaded to the hilt they even had a drone. We all suddenly realized we had places to be them 600k’s and us 250k so it was goodbye, good luck and safe travels all round and the road was hit.

Next stop Acuyacan again we were invited to a birthday party. It was Yessi’s party and was held in the funeral home the family run. The statutes had been moved to one side the Crucifix was above the karaoke machine keeping an eye on things. It was strange to say the least, a bit like those parties you went to as a young teenage were the parents hovered in the background making sure nothing untoward happened. Still was fun with great food but it only really got going just before midnight as we were leaving. The people who drove us to the hotel were on their way to another party. Nothing happens here before our bedtime.

We were supposed to meet for breakfast some of the party goers needless to say that didn’t happen. Just before the appointed time we got a text to say the party was just over and they we going to bed. It worked out well as that Sunday the local Saints day and there was all sorts of dancing, music and other festivities in the plaza. That night we went to the local funfair with some of the gang. It was great watching the kids and all of the action. Yvonne had some bright pink candy floss. She had great memories of it from her youth. Not so sure it holds the same appeal now. A real case of beware of what you wish for.

We stopped in Cordoba for the night on the way to Puebla. The next morning we put on the bike jackets for the first time in 6 months. It wasn’t too bad in Cordoba but Puebla is at 2150m/7050ft. As we got on the autopista we saw 3 Harleys they soon passed with all of the attitude a Harley owner can exude. We caught up with them in some traffic near the bottom of the grade. A couple of quick courier moves into nice little gaps and we were gone. We never saw them again. All that money, attitude and horsepower, and so little giddy up and go. Who says you can’t pass in a Ural.

We got to Puebla and found the hotel, eventually. It was very nice in an old building near the zocalo. Parking was interesting a 3 story valet parking place. Needless to say nobody was wallet parking Pferdie The manager jumped in the car and personally showed me to our spot. The only way down was this elevator which consisted of small platforms maybe 1’ x 2’ on a vertical chain. You hopped one and grabbed the handle and up or down you went. OSHA would come unglued I have to admit it was a little scary hopping on, but a nice memory.

The next day off to Pablo’s the mechanic who was recommended to us. We needed some parts and I wanted an independent eye to look things over. The shop was behind this anonymous gate lay one of the best shops I have even seen. You could eat off the floor, everything had a spot and was in it, plus there were loads of great pieces of machinery awaiting servicing. A bunch of Beemers including 2 Dakars one which had only 5000k on the clock. A ’68 Bonnie, a 70's Guzzi Le Mans , MV Agusta new and a few others, it was like being in a mini museum. Needless to say we had no qualms leaving the bike in that company.

The next day we got some bad news. He had just seen some cracks in the sidecar wheel rim and then we saw some in the front as well. Calls and emails ensued and eventually Seattle agreed it was a warranty issue but they would only ship to a dealer in the states. Thanks to Rafael and Dima (whoever you are) the shipping was organized. Seattle would ship to Texas and they would take care of the rest. Unfortunately by the time it was all organized Thanksgiving intervened.

We were in a great Airbnb by this time except a cold front came in and we had no heating. Who needs heating in the tropics?

As in most things eventually time solves everything. The wheels arrived and Pablo offered me his shop to do the change. Good thing too as the sidecar rotor was a b*tch to remove. By the time it was off new bolts were needed they 5mm to long so we cut them to size and put it all together. I put the wheel back on and gave it a playful twirl and guess what the heads were hitting the frame. After the few seconds of lying to myself that I hadn’t heard anything, off it came. I had to grind 2mm off the heads and then all was good. Five hours on one wheel. It was now after 6pm and the front wheel was next. It was a good thing he stayed open until 9pm. After all the struggles with the ‘car wheel the front rolled over and died. By 8pm all was done and it was home for a very well deserved beer. That first beer ranks up there with the best I ever had until the next best one of course.

A planned stop of 3 maybe 4 days turned into almost 3 weeks. Still it could have been much worse, we could have had a wheel collapse. Now that would have been disaster, and probably would have happened when we were passing a doble semi remolque* on the freeway. Pablo told us he waited 3 months in Venezuela waiting for a rear shock before having one brought in illegally. If this is the worst I can take it.

*A set of 2 53ft. trailers
Next stop Oaxaca but that is another episode. A happy new year to all.
Fran
And the same to you Manscout.

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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:58 pm

I can't believe we are leaving this all behind.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvDdtEV ... D&index=39

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mrmagoo
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Re: The big trip

Post by mrmagoo » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:11 am

:lurker: always exciting to get a new fran post

hotflash44
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Re: The big trip

Post by hotflash44 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:59 am

great Fran, i keep up with Yvonne's blog so im a little ahead of the SS folks, sometimes. suggest everyone that wants to fallow your adventures sign up. thanks stay safe. :cheers: :bow: :bow: :bow:
2016 gear up asphalt grey, name Seryy Medved ,Air America CIA circa 1967/8 Vung Tau Viet Nam USS Tutuila ARG-4 (AND JUST A TOUCH OF AGENT ORANGE!)

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:11 am

When will come the turn further south?
Here the summer started early and the day before yesterday I found out the supercritical final drive destroy point.....in only 6-10km off road i destroyed my final drive completely on one of the roads i definitely did not want to show you. A 30+% loose rock climb and a Mr Murphey stone finished out the short day trip and turned it into a 20hour adventure.

Notice from a friend in Nicaragua dated October: As long you stay out of Managua and manifestations, all should be good as usual. Just bite your tongue and avoid political comments. Only the border controls are even slower then normal. So in stead of 3 hours count 7 for a border crossing.

Best regards.
Sven from Costa Rica.
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh:

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:46 am

1/6/2019
We spent a few days in Oaxaca city, it was nice with the usual churches, squares and historic district. There were many more indigenous people here. The states of Oaxaca and Chiapas are the center of the indigenous culture. The food is very different but no complaints here about the flavor. After a few days a hankering for a playa overtook mi esposa . There were 2 direct routes over the mountains to the coast. It seemed like a no brainer pop over the mountains it was only 260k but 5 hours was predicted so it seemed more info was required. After reading things like” it took us 8 hrs” or “sit in the front of the bus you will be the last to be sick.” They don’t stop for you so it is a case of out the window. The road is supposed to be beautiful but mucha topes, hair pin turns, steep climbs and descents all on a narrow 2 laner. It didn’t sound like a good road for us so it was the long way instead. South to Salina Cruz and north along the coast was the preferred route. Twice as long but we aren’t rushing anywhere.

Manzute is a small village on the coast with a nice beach. Definitely on the hippie trail tie dye, beads, dread’s, sandals and weed were the order of the day. We felt old but liked it so much we wanted to extend our stay but it was the high (pun intended) season and there was no room at the inn. The high light was going to a turtle sanctuary and releasing the just hatched turtles. Even the 6 or 8 feet across the sand was fraught with danger. Sea birds appeared out of nowhere to swoop down a have a bite of turtle for supper. The babies were only a couple of inches long amazing to think some of them survive the perils of the ocean to return and start the cycle again.

Off again we headed back south. The next major stop was Tuxtla where we again under the care of local bike club. The stretch of road from Salina Cruz for about 125 k’s is the windiest bit of road we have ever been on. This the lowest point in the Mexican, Central American mountains and one of the narrowest too. So the warm Caribbean air rises and starts to cross the mountains cools down and comes howling down the other side out to the Pacific. You drive the coast so we must have had a 30k cross wind maybe more at times. As we crossed the state line into Chiapas we got stopped at the checkpoint. No problems just another photo op with the cops. Not a fun 2.5 hours and when that ends and you are at bottom of 50k climb. It was a 2nd/3rd gear hill for the 1st 20 k’s and 3rd/4th for the rest and getting colder all the time. That drive goes in the memory banks for all the wrong reasons. Of course you need days like this to build the legend.

That night we were picked up a 9 to go to dinner at a place our contacts knew. Needless to say we were beat, but off we went (legends require a lot of stories). A great time was had by us and hopefully by all. Acuma and Robert planned our tours for the next few days. #1 the Canyon del Sumidero. We finally got home at about midnite with a 10am start the next day. I am getting too old for these hours.

The canyon was spectacular. Robert and Acuma escorted us out to the next town and you get a boat up to the Dam. It takes about 4 hrs, a must see if you are in the area. Here’s a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumidero_Canyon. It’s a narrow canyon with walls going up 800ms and close to a 1000 in spots. Plus monkeys, crocs, and more, it was brilliant.

The only bad thing was all the plastic trash, remember, it never goes away it’s just out of sight somewhere.

The guys had hung out for the length of the tour and after a short drive around the little town it was back to the hotel. “See you at 9 was the parting cry”. It was a neighborhood place, specializing in MORE CARNE. Robert and Acuma brought their partners. The food was great and the company better, tomorrow’s plan was the top of the canyon. A leisurely drive along the rim with stops at a bunch of viewpoints was the morning agenda. What a relaxing way to spent a few hours. In the afternoon, off to the zoo. We hadn’t been in a zoo in years, it was great. Robert appointed himself guide. Suigame was the word of the day. Our last stop was Robert’s tee shirt shop. Then home early and a quick bit of food and bedtime.

Day 3 of the saga breakfast at Roberts, he gave us a club tee skirt with our names. Me, Franpancho and Yvonne , Ivon, it was laughs and more photos. Robert was always taking one more photo. After that we were free for the day. A quick trip to the centro was enough to convince us not much to see here.

Acuma escorted us to San Chrisobel de los casas. Another long climb. We were then turned over to 3 of his contacts. Immediately I was asked by one guy did I need a place to work on Pferdi. I was thinking of oil change logistics so what a God send. It was Christmas and people had things to do but still we got a couple of local sights in. We also got given a plastic bottle of Pooch. A local specialty, it is clear and smells like something I might have sold in my past.

Another escort to the town limits and beyond, all the way to Comitan. Along the way the front brake faded badly. Turns out it was a stuck piston. Popped the shoes out and saw the problem, burnt the fingers. Fixed it and off we went. All the time a fire and brimstone sermon played in the background. A strange way to spend a Sunday morning.

A quick bag drop off at the hotel and off to el centro . Hung out until it was getting dark and then roads had to be hit. On Monday a quick trip to the local national park and then business. I ran through the bike checklist and Y did the paper work check. All set for Guatemala and another babysitter to the border and safely across. This from a guy who was a new father by only a few days.

We cannot thank all the people who helped 2 complete strangers, who didn’t speak the language, enough. So many people have given us their time and assistance. It would have been a much harder and leaner experience with you all. Thank you, again, for your generosity, time and help.

We had heard a lot about Guatemala none of it very good. Hopefully it is mostly a case of we’re fine but don’t trust those people over THERE. A few minutes into the country we were flagged down by some guys on bikes. It was our escort to Huehue it’s so normal now. Again we are escorted all the way to the hotel after Chinese food at somebody’s house.

The Guatemala Dept. of Roads has a sense of humor just as you are thinking the road is better than people say, it goes to $#!+. No road signs, road markings anything, just potholes, unmarked topes, soil, gravel, you name it. Steep hills and tight turns that is very different to north of the border.

Our 2nd night in Huehue we got brought to an overview of the town. Another steep, steep twisty climb but this time it was a 2 laner that went somewhere. Trying to pass trucks and buses when it was a 1st,2nd gear hill for us was not fun but we made it to the top and the view. I couldn’t enjoy it as I was planning the downhill. More complete front brake failure. The bike needs twin discs on these types of mountains. All ended safely but not my cup of tea.

In the morning got brought through town to the highway. Off to San Pedro, more farking mountains but the road itself was better. Missed the turn off and it was over 20k before we realized it. Back tracked and found it. Only 40k now, be there soon. Little did we know the steepest descent to date lay ahead. It began innocently enough but soon turned into, I don’t want to be here. Then it got worse, steeper and steeper and more zigzags. We rested the brakes every chance we got, after the longest 2 hours I ever remember it got steeper yet again. The worst is saved for last and then we got lost in the little town at the end of the descent. Never mind San Pedro is only a few minutes over there around the lake.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Lake+ ... 5207?hl=en Check out sol 4.

After over an hour driving around San Pedro which is small hilly and crowded we never found the hotel we were looking for, we stumbled upon the school we planned to go to. You can move right in they said. Problem solved.

We are now in San Pedro on lake Atitlan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Atitl%C3%A1n There are a lot of schools in Guatemala and so it is reasonable enough. It is a crater lake and has many active and extinct volcanoes close by.

So here we are 16 months in, no real problems. How lucky we are.

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Mr Wazzock
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Re: The big trip

Post by Mr Wazzock » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:18 pm

Awsome stuff. :bow:

What's a tope?


Just FYI, I greased all my caliper pistons soon a I got the bike, cos of having seizures before (on a different bike, but same kind of exposed steel pistons with no protection). Not had a seizure yet.
Mike H
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(aka Oranzhevaya Opasnost, "The Orange Peril")

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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:41 pm

A tope is a sleeping policeman or speed bump. They vary from a 4 inch diameter rope to almost a foot high bumps. So far in Guetamala they have been tall, unmarked and in various states of repair. You have to respect them or you will do damage. Hope that answers your question.

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Manscout
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Re: The big trip

Post by Manscout » Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:20 pm

Hey there friends! It sounds like you have plenty of adventures going on down south and are enjoying most of it. Be safe in Guatemala.
Are you staying in a low gear and using engine braking in addition to your wheel brakes? I know that certain roads are so steep it will not matter much.
"It goes nowhere fast, and everywhere cool".

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Mr Wazzock
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Re: The big trip

Post by Mr Wazzock » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:07 pm

Thanks Fran. :D

Yes we have them too, and yes a few can cause you to get airbourne if you don't watch it. That's just the officially installed ones :D
Mike H
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(aka Oranzhevaya Opasnost, "The Orange Peril")

yb1367
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Re: The big trip

Post by yb1367 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:56 am

Last year we rode a new M70 from Guatemala City, to Antigua and around Lago de Atitlan. Beautiful country and wonderful people. Not a single issue other than the final drive spewing oil, but when attempting to circumnavigate the the lake we were warned by a federales foot patrol and also a local driver that there were armed banditos in the area. This was on the Sol 4 dirt track from San Juan to San Pablo, which deeply rutted and super dusty.

Very impressed and can't wait to go back and explore more.
2016 Gear Up

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:13 pm

Mr. Murphey stroke Yvonne and Fran today too... Clutch trouble. We'll see tomorrow what it is.
That means two suffering Urals will meet at my farm.
Sven
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh:

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

hotflash44
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Re: The big trip

Post by hotflash44 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:59 am

Peter Pan wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:13 pm
Mr. Murphey stroke Yvonne and Fran today too... Clutch trouble. We'll see tomorrow what it is.
That means two suffering Urals will meet at my farm.
Sven
bummer, take care of Fran and Yvonne nice folks. i have been watching their story from the beginning,hoping the trip would be free of break downs. first cracked rims now the clutch the poor GU has seen many harsh miles im sure, hope it will complete the journey.. happy to see your helping them out Sven.keep the forum up to date please. :cheers: :bow:
2016 gear up asphalt grey, name Seryy Medved ,Air America CIA circa 1967/8 Vung Tau Viet Nam USS Tutuila ARG-4 (AND JUST A TOUCH OF AGENT ORANGE!)

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Re: The big trip

Post by Camel Jockey » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:28 am

Peter Pan wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:13 pm
Mr. Murphey stroke Yvonne and Fran today too... Clutch trouble. We'll see tomorrow what it is.
That means two suffering Urals will meet at my farm.
Sven
Bummer, but fortunately it doesn’t sound like a major failure...most likely just wear and tear on a heavily loaded bike. If I recall correctly, Fran mentioned some clutch hiccups early in the trip. (Could be wrong about that.)

Hoping for a speedy resolution! And, thanks for helping them out!!

Mike

(5 weeks away from our little 3 month journey)
Mike S.
Stamford, CT

2018 GU; 2017 350 EXC-F; 2014 F800GS

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