Monthly Archives: January 2014

EL SALVADOR

Entering our fourth border successfully, we are feeling more confident about traveling with Bentley through each country.

So far, in EVERY country we have been in, someone has helped us and cared for us.  So many times we have stopped on the side of the road and in minutes, someone is there to help.  There are nice people and nicer people.  This is an experience of a lifetime and one that teaches us to live “outside” of the box that society so conditions us to live in and we are learning to be more giving to others as we experience how others are so giving to us. When we see how others live in third world countries, we quickly judge how “we think” they should live.  Because where we come from, it is all about who has the most “stuff” and who is “right”. Here it is all about how to survive and how to better take care of each other. Along the way, we have experienced these amazing people who laugh, who are together and who, despite their lack of, they just want to help with NO expectations in return. Scott and I are learning to see things from their eyes and that most people here are so happy.

This journey is very tough, I won’t lie! Sometimes “heaven” and sometimes “hell”. (a quote from our friend, Jeffrey Polnaja. A world traveler of 79 countries). This has challenged all three of us at times to question whether or not we can continue. Other times, we can’t imagine doing anything else!

This next video is one of the wonderful “breaks” in our traveling that we can sit back and go, AHHHHH and say, yes!, we CAN continue on this journey. To hear the sound of the ocean at night gives us tranquillity. The calmness of the day at the beach to read and rest is what helped us to get recentered and recharged to continue moving forward.

One more video of the rest of our time in El Salvador.  Our friend Richard from Guatemala put us in touch with a moto shop called Motorider. Thankfully they carried the tires we specifically wanted.  So, Mario (the shop owner) provided Scott with work space and for the three of us, a beautiful place to stay at his Coffee Farm up in the mountain. (up the very steep mountain)

With new shoes, chains and sprockets, we are off to Honduras!

 

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GUATEMALA

Entering Guatemala was like a breath of fresh air the minute we entered the country.  I don’t know if it was because we left behind Belize or because it was so beautiful. Maybe both. We rode from the border to El Remate, just below the road to Tikal archeological site with our friends we met along the way, Grant and Elle from Canada. Great people and fun to ride with. As they headed to a camping spot towards Tikal, we stayed at a place called Mon Ami. You guessed right, it is owned by a French guy. This place was right on a beautiful lake called Petan. One of the things I love about traveling through these countries is that when you book your reservation, you just give your name. (no credit card) When you check in, you fill out this very generic form of your information and they say, just pay when you leave. (and do not ask for your credit card number).  So cool.

We left with Grant and Elle after two days of exploring and ended up in Coban.  We hung out a couple of days with them before parting ways as we stayed to do a few repairs on my bike. Found a fantastic little Moto Mechanic shop owned by Juan Carlos. He helped us more than we could have imagined with the bike, but best of all with our friendship!  He and his wife, Sulari are some of the nicest people we have met along the way. We will remember them always!

Last stop was Antigua.  Fun little town with great restaurants, Great views and perfect location to take a tour for the day. A lot of expats live here which meant a lot of English spoken. We stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast called Chez Daniel. Our room looked directly toVolcán Agua. Directly to the right were Volcán Acatenango and Volcán Fuego. 

Our friends, Richard and Suzanne (who we met in Belize) and Majo took us on a truly amazing ride. We stopped at a Macadamia Nut Farm for the most delicious breakfast. We rode to Lake Atitlan with a river crossing along the way.  (It was Majo and my first river crossing, so fun and Bentley´s too) The lookout over the lake was breathtaking. We ended our day with a fabulous Indian dinner back in Antigua.

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BELIZE

It seems that I have been putting off writing about Belize because I didn’t like it there. But it is part of our experience. Being here was enough to make me wonder if this “Nordstrom junkie, makeup wearing, shoe fanatic, creature of comfort girl was up for this “adventure”. The moment we crossed into the country, my only excitement was that we successfully crossed our second border with our dog, woohoo!

We stopped in the first town called, Corozal. Bentley´s first experience with ticks, 8 in total. (geesh, ticks creep me out). The town gave us an uneasy feeling regarding the safety of our bikes, so we moved on.  Next town was Orange Walk where we stayed for two nights. Only because the hotel was comfortable and we needed to do laundry.  Again, walking around town was uncomfortable. This was the one place we decided not to go out after it got dark. I found it a relief to move on.  We found a nice place in the jungle called The Monkey Bay Sanctuary where we stayed for two nights.  No monkeys there, but down the road was a great zoo of all the animals from Belize. Met some nice people there that were traveling on motorcycles from Mexico City to Honduras.

From there, we decided that maybe we should be at the ocean. We found Hopkins Village.  I only found one place that had a room (New years weekend). We got there and THANK GOD, they said “we don’t allow the dogs in the room”. No problem! It was really bad, yucky, ewwwwaaaa! So we are off to search for something in a town that has no rooms! We ran into a nice couple from Guatemala City, Richard and Suzanne. They said, “try Kismet In, that is where we are staying”. There we found the owner, a fun, quirky woman Trisha and her husband, Elvis who gave us a great spot to pitch our tent. Turns out that Trisha cooks both dinner and breakfast every day and it was fabulous! All the guest ate together around a big table and all of us were there for the three day holiday. One day, two of the guest went fishing and brought back Barracuda that we all enjoyed for dinner and our last night, we ate fresh Conch soup. Delicious. The kismet Inn and the folks we met there really made our time in Belize worth it. Oh, did I mention they had chickens and Mr. B, killed one of them. He tried so hard to be good. Tried and tried and finally he couldn’t help himself any longer. The chase was on and unfortunately the chicken lost. If only it had been the damn rooster that crowed outside our tent at 3am!

So, it is all about the adventure. Good or bad, it is who you get to meet along the way.  Even in the most uncomfortable places you find really nice, good people that become your friends. On that same note, when we left there we stayed the night in the town San Ignacio, just before the border to Guatemala. That is where we met our friends, Elle and Grant. Adventure riders from Canada who are riding to Panama and back. We ended up crossing the border with them and rode a ways into Guatemala. Now, life long friends. This is our adventure, our experience and so worth it. I guess this “Nordstrom girl” can keep going.

Border to Belize

Border to Belize

The Monkey Bay Sanctuary

The Monkey Bay Sanctuary

Tucan

Tucan

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Tapier

Tapier

Camping at Kismet Inn

Camping at Kismet Inn

Barracuda

Barracuda

Giant Hermit Crab, Bentleys new toy

Giant Hermit Crab, Bentleys new toy

Bentleys new toy!

Bentleys new toy!

Grant at the border

Grant at the border

Elle at the border

Elle at the border

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Video of our trip so far

This is a video of some of our favorite pictures of our trip so far, enjoy.  (note: not in order)

 

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Christmas in Bacalar, Mexico

I think that this was probably Bentleys most favorite place of the trip so far. We were in a Hostel right on Lake Bacalar. Beautiful clear, clean spring fed water. This is where Bentley finally learned to swim.  Of course, Scott had to toss him in the lake about three times. After that he was jumping off the dock after his toy, over and over and over again.

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We took a boat ride across the lake to a place that is called “the rapidos”. Not sure why, because there are no rapids but it was a area of the lake that was a slow moving current.  We were required to wear life jackets, so of course Bentley had to wear his!

Finally it is Christmas Eve. We are feeling a slight twinge of homesickness to be with family.  The owners of the hostel had their family here and were preparing a huge Christmas dinner. We got invited! It was lovely and the food was amazing. Next day, Christmas and Scott´s birthday was his day. He got a sunburn hanging out at the lake all day. Great way to spend his day!

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Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres

As we ventured into Playa del Carmen, first stop…Starbucks. We pulled our bikes right on the 5th Avenue walkway and were instantly swarmed by people, cameras, paparazzi (ok, maybe not the paparazzi) to meet the super star, Bentley. Met some great people, had a quick latte and off to find our casa. We really enjoyed this very touristy place and enjoyed our time at the beach.

 

Day two, we hopped on the ferry to meet our friends from Portland in Cozumel who were on a cruise ship and would have 5 hours on the Island. We had a fabulous day. Rented a jeep, played at the beach and drank lots of Piña Coladas! 

 

 

Day Three, we drove to Cancun, stopping in Puerto Morelos to see some more friends from Philomath for lunch and then we were off to catch another ferry to Isla Mujeres. We rented a golf cart and drove around the little Island while watching the beautiful sunset and finished off the evening with a wonderful dinner.

 

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The “yellow town” of IZAMAL

This interesting town of Izamal in painted in yellow.  THE WHOLE TOWN! The town seems to be built around a huge Mayan village. There are about 7 exposed ruins around the city.  The Mayan language is spoken a lot here, our tour guide on “Miss Daisy” spoke fluent Mayan. On our way to Playa del Carmen we stopped for a swim in one of the many, many Cenotes. A cenote is a natural pit or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.

Mayan Ruin

Mayan Ruin

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MERIDA

We came into Merida with no place to stay. So what does one do…..go to the nearest Starbucks and get online! Got a little taste of home and within an hour on airbnb, found a great little B&B. This was a very nice city.  Huge old homes that made me feel like we were in the South! DSC04389 IMG_2738 IMG_2739 IMG_2746 IMG_2747

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Up through the YUCATAN on our way to PLAYA DEL CARMEN

After Palanque, we made our way up the Yucatan Peninsula. First stop was Campeche.  As we were trying to find a place to stay for the night, we stumbled upon this fish hatchery thinking it was a place to camp. Super nice people greeted us and in the end, offered us a cabin for the night for $0.00. It was awesome!

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PALENQUE, MEXICO

I am waaaaay behind!  We were in Palenque back in early December.  So you are going to get a blast of photos.  Just a few words about this magical place.   We stayed at a bed and breakfast about a 1/2 mile off of the road to the ruins.  In the jungle. At night we fell asleep to the music of the Howler monkeys and the bugs. In the morning the music came alive with all the beautiful birds. We woke up to a fabulous home cooked meal and had dinner prepared for us each night!

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It rained most of the time that we were there, but it didn’t seem to matter. I will rate this place as my top favorites!  I thought the ruins in Oaxaca were amazing until I saw Palenque, WOW.    (you can click on the images to enlarge them)

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Day two: Scott and Bentley stayed behind and I went with three women from Belgium on a Jungle Tour.  It was the second highlight of my trip! We hiked for four hours crossing many waterfalls.  We hiked on ruins that have not been excavated. We were able to see where the Mayans built conduits under the city that are now petrified and still have water running through it.  Incredible tour.

Spider monkey and baby

Spider monkey and baby

Mariposa

Mariposa

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Termites

Termites

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Paco, our guide and my three friends from Belgium

Paco, our guide and my three friends from Belgium

Entrance to a ruin that has not been excavated.

Entrance to a ruin that has not been excavated.

 

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