Something woke me up at 4 am, today is Sunday July 29 and sometimes I don't know what day it is. Not sure what woke me up but when I did, I had ants crawling all over me on the bed. The hotel room is clean, but it has these large ants that are not shy as to where they will walk on. Hey, I am on a rain forest, that is normal down here. No big deal, I love waking up to write and share something of the past days riding experiences. Yesterday we traveled through Costa Rica along the shore line and into Managua Nicaragua. We wasted quite a bit of time and Ben and I were charged an extra $12 as they claimed we had to pay it again as a tourist. I showed the immigration lady my receipt that I had already paid the fee and she refused to acknowledge it and says we still have to pay in order to get through the border crossing. Ben said, let's just give them them money because we have to get out of here. The Nicaragua border crossing was a total waste of time. This ride would have been more enjoyable if it were not for the nasty border crossings as we waste the precious little time dealing with nonsense.
The cowboys waiting their turn at the Aduanas office. I hate the word Aduana now, as it has become a major waste of time and money. My funds are running very low and I have to figure out how to replenish them.
Typical border lady siting there begging people for money. Then she walks around getting next to me begging. I truly feel bad for the people here, but when you are stressed trying to deal with the officials nonsense, they get very annoying as they start grabbing you just to get your attention. Sometimes they try to take your papers creating more chaos. Seriously, our papers!!
On our way back home. Today we departed Panama City to ride the most spectacular roads into Costa Rica. We rode along side the ocean unlike the way down where we rode through the highest elevations of the mountains. To be honest, the mountains offered nicer views as the foliage was far superior to look at. The ocean side is wonderful because it was raining. The rains are so hard here that even our most experience rider, our guide, does not recommended riding in the rain with those rains.
We crossed the border and it was really easy, Ben and I were done in an hour. On the other hand, one of the guys lost a piece of paper so they fined him $150 dollars and kept him for hours while we waited. On the way down, a police officer stopped us as we were riding 92 kilometer in a 40 kilometer zone. There are no posted signs on these roads, so who would know that. So, after our guide paid him a chunck of cash, he let us all go and says, be careful and go slow as there are more cops down the road waiting for your money...
While we were waiting for our friend, Ben and I decided to move our bikes next to the restaurant. We don't like to leave our bikes at the border crossing alone as that is where they steal them. So, Ben struggled with his bike enduro bike in the parking lot as there were huge wet rocks. Then, I tried it and sure enough, the rocks grabbed by bike and it landed on the ground. It was so funny, as all I could do was jump off the bike and start laughing.
Of course there is always men that run over to help me . They were chocked at my reaction. All I could do was laugh, looking at my bike sideways on the ground.
We rode about 400+ miles today in the rain. It gets dark here around 5 pm and bugs come out. While riding in the pitch black, I had my shield open because it was fogging up. As a result a bug decided to get into my eye. They call the bugs "bichos" as they urinate once they strike. So the bug decided to urinate in my eye and it is the most painful thing. Locals have felt the sting and agree how horrible it is once it occurs. The pain is worse than a bee sting.
We stopped at the closest restaurant and I asked for ice to soothe my eyes. One of the cowboys suggested I take a picture to share...... the cowboys are all having fun with me because of my riding skills. They have never met a woman as courageous as I am on the road. They say I am fearless and ride better than them.
At the restaurant, one of the cowboys ordered this seafood soup so he recommended it. Look at it next to my arm. It was loaded with fresh seafood, crabs etc..... I ate it because I was starving, but the pain in my eye was horrible and I could not truly enjoy that amazing soup, bummer!!
While we were riding, our guide and girl friend pull over to buy some of the local fruit. They have these little fruits with a pit inside. I grabbed one and did not know I was not supposed to eat the pit. Of course, I was the joke of the day for the cowboys because I ate the pit. Who knew!! The fruit was delicious. The boys feasted on this fruit. I call these guys cowboys as the truly are, they ride next to each other, hand each other some fruit and keep riding and eating. Ben and I cannot do that as our riding skills are good but not good enough to do that kind of riding. How can you ride at 40 mph, reach over, grab something from another rider, open the complicated fruit, eat it and keep riding? I was next to one of the guys and he kept throwing the skin to the side, he rides a huge Valkerie, beautiful bike.
When I get thirsty, I ride next to our guide leader and tell him I need a drink. He usually stops at one of the many truck vendors to get me coconut water.
One of the cowboys is happy for me. Mario, Latin American Motorcycle Association President and founder, gave all of us an award.
My tracker log from yesterday as we traversed our way into Panama City with spectacular views. We also got caught in torrential rain storms as it is the normal weather here. However, we continued to ride the Pan American Highway until our destination to uncover the most beautiful city I have ever seen in my life. While we were riding in on both sides of the highway were these beautiful mountains. The suddenly, just above the left side of the mountain there is this beautiful sun filtering the most beautiful blue city we had ever seen. Mario was at awe and he pulls over in traffic struggling to get his camera. He finally got the camera and was able to capture a small portion of the beauty we had just encountered.
Look at the skyline, I am the motorcycle on the right. The city has a strong American influence and very safe....
During our ride on the Pan American Highway, we got caught in torrential rain. I stopped to put my rain gear under a tree and looked up to find these cows with a man on his front port relaxing. The cows were also trying to take cover under the tree. They all stared at me while I changed into my gear, it was truly an amazing wonderful experience. I decided to include my bike with the corner showing Twisted Throtle as a frame of reference.
Blogging during the ride is very difficult. At this point I can just add photos and hope it helps to share some of the story. I had a chance to relax today at Jerry's house in Costa Rica, wish I could say the exact city but I have been to some many places during this ride, I cannot remember any more.
Yesterday was very interesting, as I left Guatemala City (very polluted, dirty place by the way) and we headed towards El Salavador. The border crossing was very difficult and long. Then after all was done, we headed into the beach area to get caught in the worst rain storm I have ever seen on a motorcycle at night in the mountain, not recommended.
For lack of time tonight as I am sharing a room with a couple and they are getting agitated at me because I have the lights on while I try to blog this entry....
Again, 2 am in and I find myself in Guatemala City at the Holiday Inn because I could not continue to sleep on a box spring as was provided to me by the hosting family. Slept on the thing for 2 nights and my back was killing me. So, I decided to come to this hotel to wash my clothes to find a rude awakening. Learned that they do not allow you to use the washing machines and charge $1 American dollar per sock when they accept your laundry in an emergency. Spoke with the horrible supervisor on the phone and she refused to help. Then I asked to speak to her in person and she was the nastiest little lady I had ever met, her name is Sandy.... so, I was forced to put my laundry into a bag and walk into town to ask the locals. I was very lucky to find a nice worker near another hotel that allowed me to wash my clothes in their washing machine for a $10 American dollars because I was willing to wash my own. I had to wash my riding jeans and jacket in the hotel tub and wear them wet in the cold morning. Not very pleasant.
Anyways, during the ride through Mexico, I got food poison and the LAMA wives took care of me. A doctor came to see me to give me two injections to clear up the problem. I had never been so sick in my life. The ride through Mexico was interesting to say the least, the roads were horrible and very dangerous. Found a few good ones in the mountains as a motorcycle rider would truly enjoy, however, being that I was so sick, I was not able to enjoy it as much, just needed to stay alive.
Even though the experience in Guatemala was not pleasant at the hosting house, I still managed to find pleasure in some areas. They took me to their local plaza where I was able to experience good grilled corn and finally my favorite, fresh coconut.
Throughout this ride I have been the highlight of the locals in Mexico and Guatemala. When I stop places, the families with children come to me and ask to take pictures as they have never seen a woman on a motorcycle. Some women ride scooters and the typical small bikes but none like mine that is travelling such long distances.
They ask me for the photo and introduce their children. Here is one boy who was a passenger and the father came to ask for a picture. There are so many of these occurrences, it slows the progress as the groups always has to wait for me to chat with the locals.
Even the local photographer wanted my picture while I was eating my popcorn. What is up with that!!
This little cop fell in love with me.
So, the journey continues tomorrow as the guys will pick me up early, we will continue riding to El Salvador and who knows where else. We will be riding with 3 Guatemalan men that ride like maniacs. I had to learn how to ride like them as they ride through their congested polluted city weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds not caring that we are following them. One night they rode so fast at night Mario and I got lost.There are no lights at night on the highways and very dangerous. I have no pics of that experience but may have some video footage to be posted in the future.
Her light broke while we were riding. Then we stopped to wait for a guy and she ran across the heavily populated traffic to ask a merchant to borrow their knife to fix it. She struggled with the knife, so I gave her my pin that I was wearing on my vest. Worked better and she was able to continue.
Let the journey continue........... The best way to follow me is to use a Twitter account or Facebook. I have links of both on my website.... hope to see you there.
Where do I start blogging about this past week? So much has occurred and of course it all involves amazing people. Also, what great time to have my Twitter account compromised while on a big ride (they could have waited until I was home!!). However, on of the best part was meeting a bunch of asses (oh, I mean donkeys).
Riding into Chicago was an experience, I was in Kalamazoo Michigan and gps said 100 miles to destination, I thought, wonder, will take off some layers because I was hot and I'll be there in a jiffy. Well, how could I forget? Gps says you how long until the next highway connection. The afternoon was hot, sunny, I am in full gear, hurting from the fall and then 157 miles later I arrive into a land of highways, tolls, industrialization with smelly factories, smog, riding into the sun blinding me with horrible winds that kept pushing me and my bike in ways that would cause a non-experienced rider to drop the bike and worse of all grease on bridges and highways. I was cold, hungry, exhausted and finally I find the exit to sit into traffic to find the house which was only ¼ of a mile. 30 minutes later in traffic, I could almost see the house, I could have walked there but it is all about the experience, city traffic welcomes me. After all that, thank goodness, my cousin appears with her garage door open as a safe haven. I had never met my cousin and here she was, with her open arms ready to accept her long lost cousin from New England.
Spent the night at her apartment in Chicago then the next day we drove to Wisconsin to her beautiful home. Let the pictures tell the story, a new adventure begins.