Monday, August 29, 2011

Northern Hemisphere Recap and on to Quito

The southern hemisphere!
Here we are at the biggest milestone of the trip, and we haven't given any sort of stats so far, sorry! Here are a few:

Total miles traveled since Lawrence: 9,420
Fuel consumed (approx.): 224 gallons
Days since leaving: 129 (including 25 back in Kansas)
Days on the road: 104
Average miles per day on the road 90.6
Longest riding day: 510 miles (on day one!)
Shortest ridng day: 12 miles (Veracruz to Boca del Rio, Mexico)
Put bike on a boat: 5 times

The Tampico PD, on the same bike as we have. Even this picture couldn't get us out of the "ticket" and "fine" from the next police, half a block later. Our crime: riding in the left lane.
Border crossings: 10
Searches: 4 (all on the first day in Mexico)
Traffic stops: 2 (both on one day in Tampico, Mexico)
Bribes paid: 3 (one to cops in Tampico, two at the El Salvador/Honduras border)
Money lost in bribes: $60USD

Not a breakdown, just $1500 worth of maintenance...
Breakdowns: 0 (thank you very much)
Oil changes: 3
Flat tires: 1 (in Nicaragua, easily repaired)

Beware of dog (getting caught in your wheels)
Stray dogs nearly run over: 200+ (seriously)
Stray dogs actually run over: 0 (somehow)
Tip overs: 3 (all while standing still, no injuries, very minor damage)

There's everything I could come up with off the top of my head, please comment or ask on Facebook if there are any other stats you would like to see!

We spent the night a few yards into the southern hemisphere, and first thing next morning headed into Quito. As the pilot on this trip, entering big cities is my least favorite part of the trip. Actually, I hate it. No matter how beautiful the roads are, how nice the weather is, and how straightforword the directions are, once you hit the city it always proves to be a hot, stressful two hour ordeal. Funny what you complain about after being on vacation for four months...

My glow-in-the-dark helmet in a tunnel on the outskirts of Quito
We were looking for the Marsical Sucre neighborhood, and after the obligatory two hours of wandering we found it! One of our major goals in Quito was finding relpalcement tires. On the way into town we say a V-Strom 650 with "Freedom Motorcycle Rentals" stickers all over it, and the Freedom shop turned out to be a few blocks from our hostel. So, we had a connection for motorcycle parts, but first things first...
Kim and Anna, the ever-present Kiwis, had beat us to Quito, and we went out for a reunion party! We've been meeting up with these girls since Flores, Guatemala, and that requires a toast!
We wandered around the very cool Mariscal neighborhood, and stumbled upon the absolute coolest bar that any of us had ever seen. We only had our third tier camera, but this is sort of what it looked like:

All of those photos are from ONE BAR. As I mentioned, none of us had ever seen a bar like this, anywhere, so it was a great introduction to a new city. After that we went to a salsa club, which was far too dark for photography. Kim educated the locals with her truly amazing dancing skills until three or so, and then we all headed home.
The next days the girls headed for the Galapagos islands, and we spent the day hanging around our hostel. Much to our surprise, there was a rather large hail storm that afternoon, 30 miles from the equator, in the middle of August.

I'm glad that the weather is not weird, or people might think we shouldn't burn every possible thing we can dig up.

$8 worth of really, really good Indian food.
When we finally got around to the Freedom bike shop, Court, the owner, was more than ready to help with our tire search. He handed us some half-helmets, and told us to jump on a scooter and follow him. What followed was a mad dash through the midday Quito traffic. Going from a 100 horsepower motorcycle to a 12 horsepower scooter was quite a change, and it was funny to give the bike full throttle at every stop light and barely pull away from buses. We visited four or five shops before realizing that the specific tire we were looking for did not exist in Quito. Not only that, thanks to the 90% import tax, even the tires we didn't want were twice as much as usual. Here's a visual on why we didn't settle for what was there:
The street only, double price tires available

The rugged, dual purpose tires we need
 Even though we were unsuccessful in our tire search we had a great time with the guys at Freedom Bikes and were able to see the city in a way we wouldn't have otherwise.  Our friends Anna and Kim recommended that we visit the Secret Garden Hostel at Cotopaxi (where a 19,000+ foot volcano is located) so the next day we packed up and headed out.

1 comment:

  1. Great recap! Hard to believe how far you guys have traveled already.