approximate route: Catacamas, Esteli (Nicaragua), El Rama, Pearl Lagoon, Pearl Keys, San Carlos, down the Rio San Juan (Boca de Sabalos, El Castillo, San Juan de Nicaragua), Los Chiles (Costa Rica) (kinda hauling through CR) lunes 2011mar1
I caught the ferry (620am!!) and the bike was good, no worries, when I got back. Shortly after that it all went downhill. I went into La Ceiba and got cash and breakfast then found and got on the back road that I was meaning to take through the mountains to Olanchito, the mountain route from La Ceiba. About ten miles after it turned to dirt, my rear went flat, a nail right through it. I went through the normal routine and decided to put in a new tube instead of patch this one again, only to find that the 17" tubes that I had were way too small for my rear wheel! Crap! I went ahead and patched it, assembled, didn't hold air. Got real mad and went through part of the process again and fail. At some point a local guy, Santos, walked by and I asked if there was a motorcycle shop close by and he said no, La Ceiba. A large machete was in his hands, as has been common for the area, which shows the he probably works in the fields. He continued to help me with the tube for another fail, when he recommended that I park the bike at his house and catch the bus into town to buy new tubes. There were probably even more attempts than mentioned, either before or after Santos' arrival or both. I think the valve on that old tube was screwed anyway. So I caught the bus then a taxi drove me around and I bought two tubes, after too much searching. The taxi driver had recently moved back to Honduras after living in Virginia Beach for many years. I caught the bus back to his house and put the new tube in and everything went perfectly. By this time it was dark and I asked if I could camp across the street but him and his wife said for me to sleep in a bed in their house. Everything went well and that is a sure way to learn Spanish. About the time that I got done withe the tire, Santos arrived back from the mountains and I told him that all is good. He lead me down to the path to the river so that I could wash. Chilly, clear water and a clear sky with all of the stars. Beautiful. Later, I walked with Santos to a nearby house owned by a norteamericano from Michigan, that Santos checks on occasionally. They offered me a few bean tortillas and we did the best we could to converse. I was showed his daughter Alva's English notebook from school. Santos showed me his sick father and many family members; he's been like that for ten years, all family members seemed like they were grieving. Santos was not oblivious to the differences in our countries or lives, as twice he said to me, very different from the US. Once about the houses and another about his father. Seeing the life of the locals was enlightening, while also sad compared to what we have. Santos works in the mountains, crops. There were health problems with his son and father which would probably hardly be a second thought in our country. His daughter was doing homework under candlelight. It's hard to know which way to look at the experience, for him, for me, on whether it was good or not, but, and I didn't think that I'd ever say this, I might be glad that that tire went flat.

sabado 2011mar5
Yesterday was mostly just hanging out, kinda felt good after moving for a couple days. I had breakfast with a German guy, who was a bit interested in the bike. We found that we were both planning to talk to a place about Spanish classes at a school while in Esteli, so he called in the morning and then we both went down there and got everything started, though I decided not to move in with the family for a home stay until after classes the first day. I just played on the internet mostly after that and actually talked a bit on the phone. The German guy came over to the hostel at night and we both went across the street to Luna for beers. We talked a lot about the ecomonic climate in various countries around the world, mainly Europe. I think we both enjoyed the talk, first time in a while I've had someone like that to talke with. I talked dirty with Penny after getting back to mi cama.

lunes 2011mar8
I'm starting to feel a bit better, think I'm on the down slope now. Class was good, but getting a bit overwhelmed. Getting ready to hit the road. I changed the throttle cable on the DR and checked valve clearences. The exhausts are a little tight, but I'm going to ride it a bit longer as is.

later Went to Finca de Alberto outside of Esteli, quite amazing, the highlight of Esteli for me. viernes 2011mar11
I headed out from the homestay this morning and stopped at Cafe Luz for coffee and internet. When I got back out, my gloves were gone. I saw the kid when I went in and he gave me some sad eyes like he wanted me to offer him money. I'm over it, but pretty annoying. I was originally planning to go to Jinotega, but missed the turn in Matagalpa. I was thinking in my helmet that the place that I really wanted to go anyway was Lagunas de Pearlas, so I said screw it and kept on keeping on. I missed the left around the lake and the left for El Rama, but my GPS saved me only a couple miles from the turn. I was expecting to drop out of the mountains onto a green swampy plane all the way to El Rama, but instead it was beautiful rolling hills, dark green, and cool temps. I'm in El Rama now, at the Hotel Costa Verde. I'm hitting the dirt road right outside tomorrow for the ride to Lagoon.

jueves 2011mar17
I never slept well and felt more like I was half way between for the first half of the night, because of the pain in my arm. I woke up around 230a and almost felt like puking. I took a dump instead, and started to feel better. I went down to the DR and grabbed some pain pills that I had and took two, but using tap water because I was too lazy to get some water, shit. I took an arm shower and changed my bandage. I felt decent after that and found decent positions and didn't get out of bed until around 830a, which is much later than usual. After breakfast, I started on the bike stuff. I bought a hammer and some silicone and straightened out some of the sidecase, checking to make sure that it fit on the rack still and missed with the locking mechanisms to get them to work, mostly the one locking the case to the bike. I went down to a shop on the road and had a guy straighten out one of the brackets that got bent to shit. Everything seemed good and then I siliconed it all to see as best as I could. The power went out in the entire town of El Rama, so I found stuff to do, like get cash, study Spanish, and play cellular/computer games. Everything came back on and I went to dinner and spent a load of time on the internet doing stuff. I talked with Penny and Charlie Forker, excellent stuff. I told Charlie that after I got back, I plan to visit all the old friends. I don't know if I should or not, but I plan to head out tomorrow to San Carlos. At first I wasn't sure but didn't feel like hanging out here any longer, but tonight, my elbow is feeling much better and I feel confident over riding. I read that the road to San Carlos is much improved. I also had six Tonas with dinner, so that may help. I'll see what goes in the morning, but pretty sure that I'm out. The hotel that I'm at, Hotel Costa Verde, seems like the happening place on Thursday nights.

meircoles 2011mar17
Today started out as a good morning. Good bf and real coffee at Casa Blanca, then I hit the road. Quite a ways into the ride, I came up on a bunch of cattle in the road being herded by a cowboy on a horse. As I came up to him, I was thinking that that was quite a light skinned person for living around here being a cowboy. I was thinking in my head albino, then I pulled up beside him and he was, an albino of African descent. I looked away immediately, kinda felt weird, but wish that I would have made eye contact and waved as I usually do. A little bit after that, I dumped her. I was going along fine, just as the previous part of the ride, then I was on the ground, no warning. After looking at the area, a typical, dirt/rock road, I think I was on a slight chamber and the front wheel hit something minor that it didn't like and it had be sprinkling, so just slid out and I lowslided and spun around. I jumped up to survey the bike and pick it up and had blood already running down my forearm. Shit. I picked the bike up and the left side case was hanging on by the lock and one of the four mounts had ripped on the case. Son of a bitch. I surveyed everything. I found a rock and started hammering the steel mount on the bike back into a usuable shape, then started test fitting the side case on the three remaining mounts, which is really probably adequate. I guy on a Yamaha AG came up on me (the road gets very little traffic) and asked how I was doing and I was kinda like I'm doing ok. He continued on but then turned around and came back to help. These are good people around here. We pushed and hammered and the side case slid on. I continued up the road to El Rama, parking the bike at the same hotel as before. I searched for a doctor after that, and found Dr. Vladimir Monterrey (last is correct, first...). He numbed it and put in five stiches. He seemed like a good guy to me. I did some cleaning after that and chatted with Penny. Tomorrow, I'll try to get that fourth mount welded up, though it is aluminum, and hammer out some of the dents and reseal it. It got pretty banged up. The lid still seals, but the lock also needs some work.

I got weird thoughts after the wreck. I was thinking of being back home in a comfortable house with family. I thought of how good the time was with her and thinking that maybe I should go over there for good after the trip, which is the complete opposite of my thinking yesterday. I don't know what else I thought about, the wreck was pretty sombre, and had me worrying over the rest of the trip. Will the bike and I make it all the way through SA? Maybe I need to be less adventurous with my routes and destination in order to make the trip completely.

meircoles 2011mar30
Woke up at 8a at the expensive place and took off. I stopped whenever I saw a motorcycle shop looking for a decent tire in the correct size, blahblahblah. I took a wrong turn and ended up heading for San Jose. The road climbed very high and the air temperature got real nice again. There was loads of truck traffic on the route though, as it connected San Jose with the massive shipping town of Puerto Limon. I screwed off in the outskirts then decided to stop for the first time at McD's. It was good. I asked some folks about a bike shop and there was one just a block away so I went there but they didn't have the correct size so I just backtracked on the same road, 4 or 32?, all the way to Limon. What a hell road. It was like a nonstop line of trucks the entire way. You'd pass a few only to immediately be behind a few more. This obviously put me in a bad mood once hitting Limon. I took the road south along the coast. I saw a little motorcycle shop along the road and stopped and wrote down the size and said something about tomorrow, so I'll head over there tomorrow.

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