The big trip

Where have you been riding? Tell us all about your trip. Prove it with pictures! If ya didn't take pictures, it didn't happen...
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This is the place for you to post reports about your rides. Remember the mantra: "If you don't post pictures, it didn't happen".
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wooden nickel
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Re: The big trip

Post by wooden nickel » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:43 pm

Sven, If it times out right for you, I pass right through Corbin on my way to CRAP. I would haul the bike for sure if I was gaining a passenger.
I may not be good, but I'm slow.
Nick
2014 M70 Retros, the sports car of Urals.

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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:18 pm

Bill and Nick, for now the boss says "you take a rental car".
But if Elkin NC DMC says "no trouble" .... this shorty Kraut heads for to ride on his own 3 wheels.
Then the grin on my face will become uneraseable!
Plus we pull Medio Tico to Asheboro too.

Yvonne and Fran, you got up that dusty hill to the green fog forest?
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh: Back home and under construction.

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

WEGUNTER
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Re: The big trip

Post by WEGUNTER » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:22 pm

Sven, sounds good. check out the CRAP plan under Upcoming Rides and Rallys. We can supply you with anything you need when you get there. Let me know.

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:30 am

Nick, what I need is a permit of DMV to register year through a bike for a foreigner, a "fast blue" Patrol 2013 for NC and a reasonably priced exchange engine for Sophie Travelair. Local Ural dealer in CR wants 5800$ for a nacked block....that is a brand new Royal Enfield... (Put 1000$ on top for tax in CR).
I am open to offers, as this year's bussines trip will be well paid.
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh: Back home and under construction.

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

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wooden nickel
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Re: The big trip

Post by wooden nickel » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:49 pm

Sven, I am in Kentucky so I can't do much for a NC bike. If you find something in KY, I may be able to do something. Maybe Bill knows the ins and outs of NC registration.
I may not be good, but I'm slow.
Nick
2014 M70 Retros, the sports car of Urals.

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:58 pm

That would be great if a bike and engine show up.
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh: Back home and under construction.

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

WEGUNTER
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Re: The big trip

Post by WEGUNTER » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:34 pm

Sven, I live in Pinehurst NC. Registration here is pretty simple. Show up with a title and inspection certificate, then pay the tax and you get tags. Not sure they care about being a foreigner. Maybe you can use my address as a residence in NC. I am unclear what you want to do. Buy a bike here in NC and then ship it back to Costa Rica? Or would you leave the bike here? don't mean to hijack Fran's thread so let's start another one in Virtual Watering Hole.

Bill

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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:54 pm

Here is link to Yvonne's blog https://fyoconnor.wixsite.com/nofixedabode More updates from me soon. Thanks for all the help and advice. Pferdi is running well again and we are stopped for a month so no excuses for not updating soon. A big thank you to Sven and Rick for all their help. They turned a potential disaster into a good bar story with a happy ending.

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Re: The big trip

Post by Mr Wazzock » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:58 pm

Image :boogie:
Mike H
2016 Ural cT, in glorious terracotta
(aka Oranzhevaya Opasnost, "The Orange Peril")

hotflash44
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Re: The big trip

Post by hotflash44 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:27 pm

Fran wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:54 pm
Here is link to Yvonne's blog https://fyoconnor.wixsite.com/nofixedabode More updates from me soon. Thanks for all the help and advice. Pferdi is running well again and we are stopped for a month so no excuses for not updating soon. A big thank you to Sven and Rick for all their help. They turned a potential disaster into a good bar story with a happy ending.
great Fran/Yvonne,i like many have followed your exploits from the git go,was like you im sure looking for a uneventful adventure to redeem the Urals checkered reliability past, but not to be. hope the other 2/3s of your trip is uneventful as to bike issues. :cheers:
2016 gear up asphalt grey, name Seryy Medved ,Air America CIA circa 1967/8 Vung Tau Viet Nam USS Tutuila ARG-4 (AND JUST A TOUCH OF AGENT ORANGE!)

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:49 am

Travel safe Yvonne and Fran......let's stay connected via WhatsApp for any questions and tips. At least in the evenings I get a change to answer.
Best wishes from the Daniel Boone Forest.
Sven
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh: Back home and under construction.

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

Fran
Hero of the Soviet Union - 2019
Hero of the Soviet Union - 2019
Posts: 164
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:06 pm

Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:00 pm

Well here we are in Omepte, an island with 2 volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua. We stayed in San Pedro for a month studying Spanish. The school had little apartments were we stayed. Yvonne is a much better student than me. My brain was out of practice for study and I found it very difficult. The school was great with one on one classes so we did 4 hours every day. We hardly left the campus except to go to the market. It is a treat to eat your own food again, the basic cuisine here is formed around rice, beans, torts and carne. The market was full of delicious fruits and veg which we lived on. Pasta with grilled veg, garlic beans, salads, the food has so much flavor that it is hard to not make something good. Just remember to let the produce do the talking. Magdelana, my teacher, a saint by the way, showed me how to cook some local dishes. In the evenings we would all congregate at David’s place have a few beers and gossip about our day. All the trials and mistakes we had made. Once or twice a week the school would organize an evening event. It was at one of these that I met Magdelana’s daughter who is six, the two of us ended up learning to read from one of her school books. All in all it was a very special month.

Onwards to Antigua, we decided to put Yvonne in a taxi with the heaviest bags until we got to the main road. Going up was certainly easier than going down but it still took over an hour to do the 25k to the Pan Americano. There it was time to say goodbye to all and continue south. It was with mixed feelings we fueled up and left. It was very hard to leave such a wonderful place and people. The downside of traveling like this is you are always saying goodbye. Sometimes that is very hard.

Antigua is a beautifully preserved colonial city even the streets seemed to be original. They are roughest cobble stones I have ever had the ‘pleasure’ to drive on, even walking across them was an exercise in caution. We had arranged to meet Enrique the mechanic who worked on Pferdi in Puebla.
Unfortunately with all the problems opening Ural Mexico he had to return to his home town. He gave Pferdi a good once over and apart from small valve adjustment nothing was needed. We then went to get oil so Enrique drove, it was my first time in the car. What a different experience, I seemed to be aimed at the back of vehicles all the time and the ride was rough.

It was the first time he has driven a Ural in a long time and he obviously enjoyed himself. After a tour of town we tracked down the oil. Along the way we met and saw a lot of his amigos. After the drive he pronounced it A1 at Lloyds. It is always good to have a second opinion.
The only realistic way south was through Guatemala City not an experience we were looking forward to. Luckily one of the nannies said he would escort us through. Not only that but he showed up on Saturday night with some friends to make sure he could find our Airbnb. They showed up introduced themselves, had dinner and headed back to Guatemala City. It was a nice evening for a ride apparently.

At 7am exactly as per agreement, a first in long time, Daniello arrived, this time alone. Though it was only 8am on a Sunday by the time we got to the city. There was enough traffic to make me very glad to just have to follow and not navigate as well.

He got us through in about in about 30 mins, during the week 3 maybe 4 hours to so the same, a bit 405ish. (A notorious LA freeway.) He left us on the south side of town full of apologies that he couldn’t bring us to the border as it was his daughters 6th birthday.
We found the border all on own, keep the sun in front of you and all be well. Who needs GPS to navigate when you have Mother Nature?

The border was very quiet as it was Sunday. The only hiccup was when the power went out. When you plug everything into 1 plug board including other plug boards something has to give. The offending board was finally located behind something and switched back on. Two copies later we were on our way.

We spent 2 nights in Ahuachopan and again anxious motorcycle mums show up to make the kids were alright. They had gone to the border to meet us but somehow we missed each other. One of them promised to escort us to El Tronco on Tuesday. That night someone else showed up to take us around the area and local towns. Another late night for this old man but no suffering, no legends.

Bright and early Oscar showed up as our escort and we are beach bound. Another lovely road over the mountains and along the coast with Oscar not only as an escort but camera man as well. Boy do I look good driving, manly, heroic and ruggedly good looking behind the full face. I could go on but you get the picture. Herself indoors looked great as well.

When he had delivered us to reception he turned around and headed home a six hour round trip for perfect strangers. He didn’t even want to take gas money. What have we done to deserve this? A very pleasant few days followed me sitting in the shade and Yvonne sitting at the pool.

Fully rested and paperwork sorted it was to time hit the road time again. We stayed just short of the Honduran border as crossing early in theday is the best way. After passing a 3k line of trucks we made it to the border itself. Passing all those trucks reminded me of a story in a trucking book we were given. It was about a Polish driver who had made it all the way to Germany from Russia and was refused at the border for missing paperwork. He was crying as his co-driver led him back to the truck to head back East. We often wonder what happened to him.

The border was the usual mix of officials, fixers to help you cross, moneychangers, vendors, hangers on, and I sure some ne’er-do-wells. Thank God Yvonne does the border paperwork and I mind the bike. While she wrestles with copies, officials stamps, etc. I find some shade and wait. Normally I just go in to have my mug checked against the passport photo. I know I get the better deal.

We had decided to blow through Honduras but one of the nannies group wanted to meet us. After a very welcome stop for cold drinks and coffee, (which he insisted one paying for) and air conditioning no less. We did the photo op and off again. I don’t remember much more than a night in some industrial town and an early start. Nicaragua next, we were a little nervous about this. All the stories in the papers last year had made it seem on the verge of a civil war.

First stop Estelli where we had another social obligation. I was not in the mood for this. I was hot, tired and cranky after a very late lunch and we had no hotel yet. After 2 wrong rendezvous I was not in any state to stick a smile on my face, as Mum would say.

At the final meeting spot a guy pulled in on Honda Shadow with slicked back jet black hair, mirror shades and smoking a huge cigar. Arnel Ponce had arrived, he owned a cigar factory and used his own product. This was one of the best entrances we had ever seen. Even without Mum’s prompting a broad grin suddenly appeared. His place was just around the corner, an anonymous building with six people busy rolling away. As a non-cigar aficionado I had never thought about how they were made. The craftsmanship was amazing. Getting the right blend, I think they used 4 different tobaccos in different quantities in its self was impressive.

The process started with the outer leaf then the blend of tobaccos. I looked to me like they just picked a bit out of this pile another bit here, another bit there and so on. But of course nothing is that simple. The blend is about flavor of course and also keeping it alight. The leaves are stacked in layers and then given a quick roll with your hand. Then it is placed between to boards with semi -circular grooves in them. They are stacked and a weight is kept on top of the stack this makes them exactly the right size. It looked to me each one was a perfect fit and didn’t need the sizing boards. Praticar, praticar, praticar makes perfect.

Three of his friends showed up including an ex truck driver from the states. After mucho hablando and cigars it was time to head back to town and get a hotel and dinner. With the escort gathered protectively around us back to town we went. At one major junction I thought we would never get across. A little gap appeared and quickly two of the escort pulled into the main road stopped traffic and waved us through. Try that in the States without getting shot or run over. Here no problem.

We had a traditional Nicaraguan dinner and a recommendation around the corner for breakfast. Next stop coffee country. Matagalpa here we come. We had got William’s name from friends who met him while on vacation in Nicaragua a few years ago. He owns a coffee farm just outside of town and gave us a tour. He was having a big lunch for the workers to celebrate the end of the harvest. His extended family, friends and us were also invited I’m not sure how many people were there but it was a lot. Plates of carne, arroz, frijoles and more kept appearing from this tiny kitchen. The amount and quality of food that can be prepared in such small spaces never ceases to amaze me.

The next day it was off to the coffee warehouse to continue our education. William explained all about the drying process, storing, sorting and more. It was fascinating and very humbling to realize how much hard work is put into your morning cup. A lot people spend a lot of time in the heat picking, sorting, drying and the carrying 100lb sacks of coffee around just for the morning jolt.

The last part of the tour was tasting. Everything is controlled , the roasting time and temp, water temp, quantity of coffee to water and some other things I have forgotten. Four different grades of coffee were laid out 3 cups per grade. There is a proper way to take the coffee into your mouth. You kind of suck it up so as to mix it with lots of air. Then swill it around, then hold it still for a few seconds and spit it out. Repeat for each cup.
You need years of experience to become any good at tasting. One of the samples they gave us was even to this rookie pretty bad. Muddy is how I described it, that got smiles all around. It was beans used for instant coffee. Not bad I for a rookie, though it was awful compared to the others so no skill required.

William had invited us to stay with him for our second night and as he was an ex motocross racer I had no problems letting him drive Pferdi. He took the whole family for turns in the car with smiles all around. The next day he was taking the family to a beach resort for a break. The truck was loaded with everything needed for 4 days and 3 of the family squeezed into the back with the supplies and off we went. The plan was we would follow them to the turn off for the island, avoiding Nicaragua city, another hell hole of traffic. Amazingly all went according to plan.

We got to the ferry port just in time to be last on. Pferdi was loaded in the back corner and we pulled away. It was quite choppy and as I looked back I realized Pferdi was not tied down and was sliding about. They hadn’t even raised the ramp I had visions of the bike going out the back and sinking in 50 fathoms of water.

A quick scramble to the car deck passing a driver asleep in a hammock in the back of his truck. I found a mooring hawser (4inch rope) and tried to tie Pferdi in with that. There was water on the deck a single stone behind the rear wheel, which was fark all use as a brake and me trying to tie knots in a 4 inch rope. It would have been funny if it was someone else’s bike. Finally I got it sorted and then a crew member came out with a piece of glorified string tied it around the handle bars and to the rail. “Esta buen” he said and walked off. Between the string and the hawser we made it unscathed to the island. The joy of travel.

Next episode "The curse of the Clutch"

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:00 am

oh, oh, I know that story Yvonne and Fran, you will remind poor Pferdinand to his belly aches again? Better do not call it a curse, but a learning experience for all of us.
My poor Sophie still suffers in that cold and now wet workshop from her heart operation. Ural Gabriel and you anounced me today that spares arrived...I will have to send Thomas to pick them up.

Here in Kentucky 1 patient is up and running again and the other waits for the crane tomorrow...
Soon I will visit Rick again.
I feel soar since the day Richard P. the flying Canadian gave you a planer flight to our farm. You Fran at least had some time for to recover from soarness.
Best regards
Sven
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh: Back home and under construction.

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

Camel Jockey
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Re: The big trip

Post by Camel Jockey » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:41 am

Marine Corps Codu wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:51 pm
Thanks for the info. The dealer I bought it from said the tach is inoperable in the U.S. market. Guess I will send him the link as well!
Your dealer is most likely aware of the tach mod, but is silent on the subject as it technically voids the warranty (at least according to my dealer.)

Re: battery access. For jump starting, etc., you can access the positive terminal by removing the side cover. Pick up a ground anywhere on the chassis.
Mike S.
Stamford, CT

2018 GU; 2017 350 EXC-F; 2014 F800GS

hotflash44
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Re: The big trip

Post by hotflash44 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:01 am

Fran wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:00 pm
Well here we are in Omepte, an island with 2 volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua. We stayed in San Pedro for a month studying Spanish. The school had little apartments were we stayed. Yvonne is a much better student than me. My brain was out of practice for study and I found it very difficult. The school was great with one on one classes so we did 4 hours every day. We hardly left the campus except to go to the market. It is a treat to eat your own food again, the basic cuisine here is formed around rice, beans, torts and carne. The market was full of delicious fruits and veg which we lived on. Pasta with grilled veg, garlic beans, salads, the food has so much flavor that it is hard to not make something good. Just remember to let the produce do the talking. Magdelana, my teacher, a saint by the way, showed me how to cook some local dishes. In the evenings we would all congregate at David’s place have a few beers and gossip about our day. All the trials and mistakes we had made. Once or twice a week the school would organize an evening event. It was at one of these that I met Magdelana’s daughter who is six, the two of us ended up learning to read from one of her school books. All in all it was a very special month.

Onwards to Antigua, we decided to put Yvonne in a taxi with the heaviest bags until we got to the main road. Going up was certainly easier than going down but it still took over an hour to do the 25k to the Pan Americano. There it was time to say goodbye to all and continue south. It was with mixed feelings we fueled up and left. It was very hard to leave such a wonderful place and people. The downside of traveling like this is you are always saying goodbye. Sometimes that is very hard.

Antigua is a beautifully preserved colonial city even the streets seemed to be original. They are roughest cobble stones I have ever had the ‘pleasure’ to drive on, even walking across them was an exercise in caution. We had arranged to meet Enrique the mechanic who worked on Pferdi in Puebla.
Unfortunately with all the problems opening Ural Mexico he had to return to his home town. He gave Pferdi a good once over and apart from small valve adjustment nothing was needed. We then went to get oil so Enrique drove, it was my first time in the car. What a different experience, I seemed to be aimed at the back of vehicles all the time and the ride was rough.

It was the first time he has driven a Ural in a long time and he obviously enjoyed himself. After a tour of town we tracked down the oil. Along the way we met and saw a lot of his amigos. After the drive he pronounced it A1 at Lloyds. It is always good to have a second opinion.
The only realistic way south was through Guatemala City not an experience we were looking forward to. Luckily one of the nannies said he would escort us through. Not only that but he showed up on Saturday night with some friends to make sure he could find our Airbnb. They showed up introduced themselves, had dinner and headed back to Guatemala City. It was a nice evening for a ride apparently.

At 7am exactly as per agreement, a first in long time, Daniello arrived, this time alone. Though it was only 8am on a Sunday by the time we got to the city. There was enough traffic to make me very glad to just have to follow and not navigate as well.

He got us through in about in about 30 mins, during the week 3 maybe 4 hours to so the same, a bit 405ish. (A notorious LA freeway.) He left us on the south side of town full of apologies that he couldn’t bring us to the border as it was his daughters 6th birthday.
We found the border all on own, keep the sun in front of you and all be well. Who needs GPS to navigate when you have Mother Nature?

The border was very quiet as it was Sunday. The only hiccup was when the power went out. When you plug everything into 1 plug board including other plug boards something has to give. The offending board was finally located behind something and switched back on. Two copies later we were on our way.

We spent 2 nights in Ahuachopan and again anxious motorcycle mums show up to make the kids were alright. They had gone to the border to meet us but somehow we missed each other. One of them promised to escort us to El Tronco on Tuesday. That night someone else showed up to take us around the area and local towns. Another late night for this old man but no suffering, no legends.

Bright and early Oscar showed up as our escort and we are beach bound. Another lovely road over the mountains and along the coast with Oscar not only as an escort but camera man as well. Boy do I look good driving, manly, heroic and ruggedly good looking behind the full face. I could go on but you get the picture. Herself indoors looked great as well.

When he had delivered us to reception he turned around and headed home a six hour round trip for perfect strangers. He didn’t even want to take gas money. What have we done to deserve this? A very pleasant few days followed me sitting in the shade and Yvonne sitting at the pool.

Fully rested and paperwork sorted it was to time hit the road time again. We stayed just short of the Honduran border as crossing early in theday is the best way. After passing a 3k line of trucks we made it to the border itself. Passing all those trucks reminded me of a story in a trucking book we were given. It was about a Polish driver who had made it all the way to Germany from Russia and was refused at the border for missing paperwork. He was crying as his co-driver led him back to the truck to head back East. We often wonder what happened to him.

The border was the usual mix of officials, fixers to help you cross, moneychangers, vendors, hangers on, and I sure some ne’er-do-wells. Thank God Yvonne does the border paperwork and I mind the bike. While she wrestles with copies, officials stamps, etc. I find some shade and wait. Normally I just go in to have my mug checked against the passport photo. I know I get the better deal.

We had decided to blow through Honduras but one of the nannies group wanted to meet us. After a very welcome stop for cold drinks and coffee, (which he insisted one paying for) and air conditioning no less. We did the photo op and off again. I don’t remember much more than a night in some industrial town and an early start. Nicaragua next, we were a little nervous about this. All the stories in the papers last year had made it seem on the verge of a civil war.

First stop Estelli where we had another social obligation. I was not in the mood for this. I was hot, tired and cranky after a very late lunch and we had no hotel yet. After 2 wrong rendezvous I was not in any state to stick a smile on my face, as Mum would say.

At the final meeting spot a guy pulled in on Honda Shadow with slicked back jet black hair, mirror shades and smoking a huge cigar. Arnel Ponce had arrived, he owned a cigar factory and used his own product. This was one of the best entrances we had ever seen. Even without Mum’s prompting a broad grin suddenly appeared. His place was just around the corner, an anonymous building with six people busy rolling away. As a non-cigar aficionado I had never thought about how they were made. The craftsmanship was amazing. Getting the right blend, I think they used 4 different tobaccos in different quantities in its self was impressive.

The process started with the outer leaf then the blend of tobaccos. I looked to me like they just picked a bit out of this pile another bit here, another bit there and so on. But of course nothing is that simple. The blend is about flavor of course and also keeping it alight. The leaves are stacked in layers and then given a quick roll with your hand. Then it is placed between to boards with semi -circular grooves in them. They are stacked and a weight is kept on top of the stack this makes them exactly the right size. It looked to me each one was a perfect fit and didn’t need the sizing boards. Praticar, praticar, praticar makes perfect.

Three of his friends showed up including an ex truck driver from the states. After mucho hablando and cigars it was time to head back to town and get a hotel and dinner. With the escort gathered protectively around us back to town we went. At one major junction I thought we would never get across. A little gap appeared and quickly two of the escort pulled into the main road stopped traffic and waved us through. Try that in the States without getting shot or run over. Here no problem.

We had a traditional Nicaraguan dinner and a recommendation around the corner for breakfast. Next stop coffee country. Matagalpa here we come. We had got William’s name from friends who met him while on vacation in Nicaragua a few years ago. He owns a coffee farm just outside of town and gave us a tour. He was having a big lunch for the workers to celebrate the end of the harvest. His extended family, friends and us were also invited I’m not sure how many people were there but it was a lot. Plates of carne, arroz, frijoles and more kept appearing from this tiny kitchen. The amount and quality of food that can be prepared in such small spaces never ceases to amaze me.

The next day it was off to the coffee warehouse to continue our education. William explained all about the drying process, storing, sorting and more. It was fascinating and very humbling to realize how much hard work is put into your morning cup. A lot people spend a lot of time in the heat picking, sorting, drying and the carrying 100lb sacks of coffee around just for the morning jolt.

The last part of the tour was tasting. Everything is controlled , the roasting time and temp, water temp, quantity of coffee to water and some other things I have forgotten. Four different grades of coffee were laid out 3 cups per grade. There is a proper way to take the coffee into your mouth. You kind of suck it up so as to mix it with lots of air. Then swill it around, then hold it still for a few seconds and spit it out. Repeat for each cup.
You need years of experience to become any good at tasting. One of the samples they gave us was even to this rookie pretty bad. Muddy is how I described it, that got smiles all around. It was beans used for instant coffee. Not bad I for a rookie, though it was awful compared to the others so no skill required.

William had invited us to stay with him for our second night and as he was an ex motocross racer I had no problems letting him drive Pferdi. He took the whole family for turns in the car with smiles all around. The next day he was taking the family to a beach resort for a break. The truck was loaded with everything needed for 4 days and 3 of the family squeezed into the back with the supplies and off we went. The plan was we would follow them to the turn off for the island, avoiding Nicaragua city, another hell hole of traffic. Amazingly all went according to plan.

We got to the ferry port just in time to be last on. Pferdi was loaded in the back corner and we pulled away. It was quite choppy and as I looked back I realized Pferdi was not tied down and was sliding about. They hadn’t even raised the ramp I had visions of the bike going out the back and sinking in 50 fathoms of water.

A quick scramble to the car deck passing a driver asleep in a hammock in the back of his truck. I found a mooring hawser (4inch rope) and tried to tie Pferdi in with that. There was water on the deck a single stone behind the rear wheel, which was fark all use as a brake and me trying to tie knots in a 4 inch rope. It would have been funny if it was someone else’s bike. Finally I got it sorted and then a crew member came out with a piece of glorified string tied it around the handle bars and to the rail. “Esta buen” he said and walked off. Between the string and the hawser we made it unscathed to the island. The joy of travel.

Next episode "The curse of the Clutch"
at first i thought thats a lot to read at 5:30am ,but once i started i couldn't stop, great reporting Fran. whats your next country Panama? :cheers:
2016 gear up asphalt grey, name Seryy Medved ,Air America CIA circa 1967/8 Vung Tau Viet Nam USS Tutuila ARG-4 (AND JUST A TOUCH OF AGENT ORANGE!)

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