October 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2011
I left Antigua thinking I could make the border in one day and cross into Honduras. The weather was nice enough.
On the road I was passed by a BMW, with another coming up behind. It was a nice smooth part of the Pan Am, so I picked up my pace a little and settled in between them. Eventually we all pulled off at a gas station (Not that any of us seemed to need gas) and introduce ourselves.
I’m pretty sure they are Dave and Doug (Left to right), but I do know the guy on the right had a get off near an old mudslide earlier in the day. He was okay expect for some scuffs. They were also heading for Ushuaia, and I would see them again.
The border was, in the end, too far away. I reached a town called Ipala where I got a hotel for Q40 (around $5US), without hot water but all the other hotel things. With lodging out of the way I went for a walk.
I was up sort of early and headed for the border.
I got a helper, which I might have been able to do without but it does make it easier.
Once through the border (and pretty early in the day) I headed in. I was back on my planned route, which meant some of the roads were “under construction” but I wasn’t too worried about it.
I stopped for the night in a new hotel in Santa Rosa, with the smell of paint and the moldings still removed. It had a nice restaurant too, and gave me a discount. They also warned me about Highway 8, but I still took it.
The day was nice, and the road was good as far as Gratis. Then it got a little rough. And then a little more rough.
I had just gotten through a rougher part (visible as a darker place there in the background) and Curiosity was constantly bottoming out, which was new. It wasn’t hard to find out why
I had kept the stock, 30 year old shocks on the bike when I left. This was partly because I had wanted to keep the bike stock, and partly because I just didn’t have time to think too much about it, since I had switched back to the 250 only a couple of months before I left. I had also never finished working out and ergonomic issue that kept me some riding on the pegs for any distance.
In any case, it hadn’t held up under the load and road. The load was actually a little more than when I left home, mainly the Nomad. I was in the middle of a long dirt road and decided to keep moving forward instead of back tracking. It was really the only option, but still had a lot of bad miles before getting back on pavement.
I slowed down some and stopped in the next big town I found. This turned out to be the capital Tegucigalpa, and I found an auto hotel (with hourly rates and a garage for each room) and pulled off all the luggage to look at the suspension.
I don’t really know what I was looking for or expecting to find. I was a little rattled after the day of bad roads and went to sleep early, unsure about trying to find a local mechanic and shopping for parts or having some shipped from the USA. While I was sleeping I got an offer to send parts from one of the Mechanics at the Shop in Milwaukee (as well as various forms of encouragement). After a decent nights sleep, and still not sure about where to get parts, I headed for the Nicaragua border in the morning.
I don’t think I has ever seen a machete ad. I had seen a lot of machetes, though, since leaving Mexico. It seems they are the tool of choice for mowing.
I had decided to stay on pavement, and even on pavement the back of the bike was alternatively bottoming out or bouncing too much and feeling light. It was a weird feeling.
I had no issues at the border, again using a helper. It really felt like my Spanish, which wasn’t really the greatest, had completely fled me as I tried to deal with the bureaucracy. It was annoying, but I guess it happens sometimes.
Next – Nicaragua