Recently in Nicaragua Category

Up early – and on the bikes by 7 – meat on the seat as Huli says…

Rode arond a couple small towns looking for a cash machine. Finally found one and got some US cash – El Salvador uses the US Dollar as its currency which is handy.

IMG_0572As we were riding up to to the border at about 50mph these dudes come running into the street. I’m telling you they ran right in front of us and we had to slow and move left to avoid taking one out. They are waving and screaming. After we pass they jump into they’re tuck and give chase. About a half mile later we stop at the border area and the fixers were on us like a pack of jackals on a wounded wildebeast – we tried to avoid them and ignore them but they kept working us hard. one of them knew our names – Raul from the last border had called them - etc.. eventually i gave into this guy and he started working us hard.

exiting el salvador was easy – a little bit of review of the bike documents and a few bucks – poof, we were gone.

P1000594honduras was a whole different story – unfortunately we arrived at the honduran border at about lunch time – and of course everything stops. so we waited and waited and waited….

then we needed about 8,000 copies of the titles, the drivers license, the passport, the exit permit from guatemala, John’s last blood test results, etc.

then the fleecing began – all nicely documented of course – 135 lempira ($7) for this, 135 for that, 257 (about $14) for something else, then 432 ($23) for another permit – and so it goes. 

P1000592So we waited… hours we waited in the hot sun while the 17 different departments had to process whatever they needed to process….The only entertainment was this little kid running around. He was eating some chicken and when he got to the bone he would throw the bone down to the many little scrawny dogs begging. Well he finished one piece and comes walking over to John and flings the bone right on my lap…. Then gives me the strange look, like aren’t you gonna eat it???

by the time we were finished it had taking a little over 3 hours – which is not too bad we find out – and maybe about $100 per person/bike. This is way too much – and Dan was pretty peeved about being fleeced – he later figured out how they had done it and what to avoid next time. The fixers work hand in hand with the officials – and if you let them – they will hide certain things from you – while the delays are taking place certain officials are pushing the paperwork thru various people to make sure they get to the right officials who are on the take – then the reciepts are produced and demands made. If you’re not  savvy about the true costs you can’t really argue with them.

We tore across Hon-dur-ass like a plate of bad huevos rancheros thru a gringo, Not much was said on the intercom and we decided they were not going to get another cent from us – no gas purchased, no water, not one thing. A shame really – i’ve been to the place a dozen times or more and have usually enjoyed the people and the sights.

We got to the border of Honduras and Nicaragua about 4:30pm – a little late but we were pushing it to get out of Hondurasssss.

Just before the border – we were stopped by some Honduran cops. I thought “Oh, great, they didn’t get a big enough piece of my ass” – and the fixers decended upon us at the cop stop…. “documento’s!”  – off the bike, dig out the paperwork – all the while the fixers are yelling at us – the cop asks me to open a side bag – and starts poking thru it – then he chases all the fixers away – just waves his arms and chases them off – then he gets real close to me and starts explaining in very slow spanish – “you will only pay $3 to exit honduras and then $7 each person and $12 each moto to enter nicaragua” – and he made me repeat it back to him – “don’t pay any more” – he was a very nice guy and we had the info we needed to avoid being hosed by another fixer. We shook his hand and in one instant most of the bad feelings about Hunduras were erased.

We motored up to the border – only about 1/4 mile from the cops – I ignored the fixers completely telling them “No” – about 700 times – one of them stuck with me and wanted to translate etc… I ignored him for the most part – and walked my papers here and there – get copies etc.. it was fairly quick except for the line to get the moto permits…. and we entered Nicaragua for a total of $19 each person/bike.

It was dark by the time we were done at the border but we only had 11 KM’s to get to Somotillo so we thought no worries we’ll bust out 6 miles and Cervezas all round– Then we find out the road was CRAP!! — torn to pieces and under construction (probably for the last 20 years) – huge potholes, rocks, sections of pavement, then dirt, then gravel – just crap. To top it off – there were tons of unlighted vehicles on the road – and big trucks bolting towards the border with huge plumes of dust hanging in the air behind them. It took us about 30 to 45 minutes to go the 6 miles.

P1000596We ended up at the only hotel in town – $20 – and it looked ok and $20 seemed reasonable. They let us pull the bikes inside behind the locked gate. The room was a surprise – two single beds – one blocking the sink and the toilet/shower were behind a little curtain. The room was small – and to top it all off, there was NO water in the entire hotel. No shower, no wash up, no water for the toilet. If you used the toilet they had a big garbage can of water that you scooped some up and into the toilet bowl to make it flush. Excellent – after a long day of sweating to the oldies in riding gear/boots at two borders and riding thru mountains of dust we both had a nice little caked dried brown gravy look and feel. This picture is of the shower from above … lovely.

We walked across the street for dinner of chicken and veg and it was pretty good– and while waiting for it to cook some guy comes in with his rooster. He ties it to the leg of his chair and starts drinking with his buddies. We of course are looking at it and cracking jokes about his c*ck being tied to the chair.  laughing and carrying on. He then yells at us in spanish. We’re thinking uh oh.. The gal behind the bar spoke broken english and say’s “he want’s to sell you his Gallo.” We decided we did not have the room in the saddle bags and said no thanks. He was persistent and the price went from 50 cordobas ($2.5 US) down to 30 pretty quickly… Dan asked the gal behind the bar if that chicken was the one we would be eating for dinner?? We managed to avoid buying it even though it was a good deal.

How many times have you been in a bar and some dude wants to sell you a rooster??? (“c*ck”)

We both awoke many times that night by a rooster crowing very loudly at 3am… and he was persistent up till 5 am. We joked that the dude tied the damn thing up next to our room becuase we didn’t buy it.  Then the incredibly loud bus horns started blasting and competing for riders at 5am so we dicided we might as well get up, not take a shower, not use the toilet and not use the sink. It was time for the Motobrothers to ride – meat on the seat. 

And in the rain department… not even a hint of rain – nearly a month of riding almost every day without putting on the rain gear…. amazing!

 

IMG_0589We rolled out of bed early and got out of Somitillo. The road was much the same as yesterday for the first 30 clicks. Gravel, Pot holes and nothing but shite. Some of the pot holes were so big the gps registerd elevation changes and there were families selling stuff at the bottom. After traveling about 100 clicks we stopped for fuel and the gas station attendents were super cool. We had them sign the bikes and they tipped us to the cops across the street where we were headed. They machined gunned a bunch of spanish at us, waving and tellling us to exit the station over there. We were pretty sure they were telling us something more, but all we got was “timmy fell in the well again” and we should ride out over there.

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After we rode out and stopped at the “T” we made a left toward the cops and bingo! they waved us over to the shoulder. After much gestering and us saying how little spanish we knew. Him saying how little english he knew, we figured out he was informing us we had improperly made a turn into the wrong lane. Dan then made a diagram to show how we made a correct turn before his “partners” waved us into the other lane. After much debate he grew tired and gave us our documents back and waved us on. We laughed and talked on the intercom about how they got nothing from us and we punked them…

 

P1000613The road improved for awhile and then got even worse. It took quite some time to go even 30 miles. When the road began  to improve and we started picking up the pace. We came to a hill and there was a super slow tractor crawling up it. John went to pass and dan followed. After cresting the hill bingo, More Cops…. They waved us over and we thought, $hit! were gonna pay this time. After some more gestering and trying to understand each other. Even if you know good spanish I think the way to work the cops is to just plain act dumb. They were pretty cool though and informed us we had passed in a no passing zone. They loved our bikes and we checked theirs out as well. It is a 125cc! If you don’t know bikes thats just barely bigger than a moped. This thing was shagged and they both ride on it together. They then asked for anything to drink as they were standing in the hot sun. We had nothing, but informed them that we would be happy to cruise back a bit into a town we had just past and get them a coke. They seemed surprised when we came back with sodas for them. We shook hands and headed on our way with some “cop karma”. After our two cop deals we had a chat about being more careful. You see since we got into Mexico we have seen really NOBODY obeying any traffic laws. As well as no cops really caring.  People would even pass cops at warp speed, Rip though towns and generally drive ayway they wanted. So in Nicaragua we started behaving ourselves again.

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IMG_0594We found our way into Granada and started looking for a hotel. We stopped by the bank and this really cool dude from CA comes up and starts chatting us up. Well he’s a travel guide in the area and tips us to a hotel down the street. “The Oasis” We get there and its a little door in a wall. Looking kinda scummy. After going inside though its super cool with a garden, pool and just a good feeling about the place. It was a tight fit getting the bikes in, We had to remove the side bags and then cross this iron bridge thingy that was bending under Dans weight….We chilled out, walked around Granada an old colonial city right on a huge lake. The lake had a bit of a smell and funny color to it though.

Did someone say rain? not hardly – the streak continues….

Cheers! 

Granada to San Juan del Sur.

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IMG_0548After leaving Granada we had a short ride to the Beach. We have heard some horror story’s about the border crossing into Costa Rica, So we wanted to get close to the border so we could hit it early in the morning. San Juan is a small beach town with alot of Gringo Surfer dudes. We played some cribbage had a few beers and just hung out on the beach.

Check out this photo of a Nicaraguan SUV!

After we got back to the room we both noticed a bit of an odor… We looked around for a dead rat or something worse… Then we realized it was our riding suits that we had been sweating in for the last 4 weeks. We had a good laugh. washed them in a bucket and hung them in the sun. Not much else going on today. Tomorrow we ride into Costa Rica. We meet up with my wife Lynn, Dan’s girlfriend Carmen and our sister Mary. We are going to spend about a week messing around and being tourists in Costa Rica. The blogs will slow a bit, but we’ll keep you updated when we can.

Cheers! oh yea, no rain!

Hows that snow in the NW?

San Juan Del Sur to San Jose, Costa Rica

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We got up early after a light night of drinking. I was feeling a little thick as we hit the road for Costa Rica. We knew it was only about 300 clicks or less to meet the girls so I figured no worries. We have been riding in some insane cross winds for the last week or so and today was no different. The buffeting really takes a toll on your head, even when your not hung over... We got to the border in a short hour or so and the “fixer’s” were not quite as aggressive as some of the past borders. Dan is also getting quite good at working them and the border systems. Because he speaks the better Spanish, he goes and deals with the paperwork, while my job is to watch the bikes. “thanks Dan”  Leaving Nicaragua was not really too much trouble. They did a half ass search of our stuff and with a few documents we passed into “no mans land” (the short bit of road between borders.)

The paperwork to get into Costa Rica took some time. Dan was working the magic without a fixer. He seems to have the system down. Go over here to this unmarked building. Get some paperwork you can’t read, Fill it out. Then take it over to another unmarked building. Hand over some cash. Then take the bikes over to another dude to have the VIN numbers checked. Then take the VIN approval to some other unmarked building and hand over some cash. Then when you think your done….Try to enter the country. If the dude at the gate lets you in? you did it right. If he doesn’t then you go back and try to figure out which building you didn’t hand over any cash or paperwork to and try again… Thats really all there is to it.

The MotoBrothers are in Costa Rica! After we got rolling we were dripping in sweat from hanging around the border for about 2–3 hours. We thought sweet, less than 2 hours we’ll be sipping cocktails with the girls. Boy were we wrong. Traffic was BRUTAL. We spent the next 5 hours going about 130 miles!!!! It Sucked big time. By the time we got to the hotel we were both worn out. We went out for a dinner and called it a night.

P1000553Here I am using a leatherman to open a bottle of whiskey…

It did look like it was going to rain today for awhile… But nothing yet. This also marks a month on the road since we left Portland. Wow! It seems as though all of the days are blending together. I have trouble telling what day of the week or what the date is…. sometimes I have to look back in the blog to remind myself of all the places we have seen and all the stuff we’ve done. I’m so lucky to have such a cool bro to do this stuff with!!!

As I said we are going to do some stuff in Costa Rica for about 5 days. Also the bikes are getting new back tires and an oil change while we tour around a bit. Blogs will be spotty the next week. But we will soon be on the road again heading south.

Thanks everybody for riding along with us. We have gotten some very nice emails and we appreciate them! Cheers!