Tag Archives: Garmin

Elk City to Claremore, Wednesday, 15 August 2012, Day 72

Yet another Route 66 Petrol Station!

As you can probably tell I am not to impressed with this part of the journey but I had very little option but to grind it out in the hope that it will get more interesting soon. I had a pleasant day Route 66 was more present in the State of Oklahoma so this got me of the freeway, which was a nice change.

I must confess I am no longer a speed freak and on the Freeways you are allowed to go 75 mph but that is a tad fast for my liking the bike could do that all day long the rider however prefers the more leisurely pace of the back roads where he is not being humiliated and passed by 20 wheel trucks as he tootles along in the slow lane. It is official I most be getting old as I am no longer in hurry to be the fastest thing on the road and considering the miles I am putting in I would be even more tired than I am now. Again on me own in a tatty old motel room so I finally got all my routes downloaded from my Garmin GPS onto my computer as there is no Internet and the goggle box here is crap.

Bugger it was Closed!

So here are some Stats;

I have done about 23,690km in 72 days so that is about 330km a day. The most I travelled in one day is 764km from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg. I have spent about USD 1, 250 on fuel and about USD 2,200 on Accommodation and god knows how much on Cinnamon Rolls. I know but I am not telling. So a pleasant enough day at the office not mind-blowing or much to write about but pleasant. I have got some ideas on how to liven things up bit but a tad more research is needed so watch this space.

San Juan Del Sur to Arenal, Thursday, 29 November 2012, Day 149

The man from Del Monte he says yes!

Day did not start out to well as remember I had the shampoo leak in my toilet bag well there was some still left on my toothbrush so ended up shampooing my teeth yuk I was tasting shampoo all day double yuk.

I headed out of San Juan Del Sur after hitting the cashpoint and getting some breakfast I had a bit of a small ruck with a rent a cop at the cashpoint as he would not let me park me bike in front of it the road was empty no one around but he had his rules and I have mine so screw you mate I will take my business else where and I went to find another cashpoint.

Short run and before I knew it I was passing a huge line of trucks signifying that I had probably hit the border. I am not going to bore you all to death with the details this time but here is a link for those that may be interested http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=809883&highlight=RTWPaul&page=34

I plagiarised this from someone else blog. Even after reading this the night before it still was very confusing and the whole exercise took about 2 hours with a lot of walking from one place to another place and lot of time trying to find folks in a huge crowded area to sign certain documents so looking for a policeman then a custom officers.

Large queue at immigration into Costa Rica but got through all of this without a problem made a few friends on the way and no real hassle from the money changers or folks trying to offer there services I decline politely and they leave you alone and there are other folks there willing to help you if needed I got some great help from the lady mopping the floor as I was in the wrong building 🙂

So through the border no problem this time, and into another new country with new challenges. I pass a never ending queue of lorries on the other side which where hogging my half the road with buses and cars coming straight at me also on my side of the road trying to push me off into the dirt no way Jose.

Heading for a place that Sjoerd Bakker had recommended the only problems was as I was having problems with the Internet again last night and I had not been on line for a couple of days so I did not really have the address and only a vague recollection on where the place was and I couldn’t remember the name. So as usual up to pretty standard Philly planning. When I hit the turnoff for Upala I decided to check with the cops at the side of the road as to the condition of the road as I recall that it may be a dirt track so I pulled over and ask the police officer in my best Spanish how the road is to Upala was and he demands to see my passport. Cor Blimey Governor I respond also in Spanish I only asked directions and the state of the road and he is demanding documents. We have a bit of a laugh about this as this is a routine check point so the demands for my documents is not for my bastardising of the Spanish language and after his mate has taken my details he required he tells me the road is excellent for motorcyclist so with a cheery wave and I am on my way again. Well excellent is not how I would have described the road it was dirt track for about 30km but fortunately seriously compacted dirt and old tarmac I was rattled to death but it was rideable and this got me away from the Pan America and into the mountains.

Excellent road allegedly

I could not find the place that Sjoerd had mentioned as I thought is was further down a particular road than it actually was and I think I may have stopped outside of the place but it did not match what I could recall being described but this is due to my crap memory. So still some daylight and I like the roads when they did turn back into Tarmac so I am heading for a place called Arenal which I had heard about and I knew there should be places to stay there. As I had crossed the border into Costa Rica I expected my Garmin GPS to start showing more detail as allegedly I had detail maps in it for Costa Rica but it was not much better than it had been for the last couple of countries so I never seemed to know where I was and it kept on telling me I was on the wrong road or driving in a lake! In short one piece of crap equipment maybe its me expecting to much but I would expect it to be functioning a lot better than it is I kept resorting to a paper map that I have and I should not have to do that. So I am running the Garmin South America Maps which is supposed to include Costa Rica so does anyone out there have any ideas why it may not working that well here?

Gorgeous run around the lake Arenal when I finally found the right road that seemed to go on for ever and then I was in Arenal which was a sleepy village so looked around for somewhere to stay and could not find anywhere obvious so asked a couple of girls are there any hotels in the area and they most have thought I was a mad old purvey guy as they both pointed across the road to a hotel right where I had stopped. (I must improve my chat up lines)  I must be tired, as I never noticed it.  I went inside and they show me to a lovely room with gorgeous views over the lake and valley but a tad more than my budget so I asked if they had anything cheaper as It was getting dark so the view will be gone in 30 minutes and I only need somewhere to kip. This worked and I had another nice lot cheaper room without the view. I went for a walk and it was dark so I need to remember it gets dark at 17.30pm here so need to get of the road earlier I had pushed my luck again today but it worked out fine but that may not always be the case. Not much to see in this one street town the entertainment this evening was watching two huge high lorries trying to negotiate the small streets without pulling down all of the low lying electricity cables.

Watch those cables

Back to the hotel for me tea as they had a pizza restaurant attached to it and I was the only one in that night so I sat there on me own with a nice Pizza and a Fanta with again bad Wi-Fi trying to get this up to date. Oh there was someone else in the restaurant my old trusty traveling companion Daisy. For security I was allowed to drive and park me bike in the Restaurant so there she was blocking the telly. Now that’s what I call service.

Oi Daisy you are blocking the bleeding telly

I am not sure if I have actually called my bike Daisy in this blog before but that’s what she has been christened and what I call her and this is how she got the name. So Dave Emmett (http://motomatters.com) if you think this is references to your nickname well think again its not but it could be how you became to be called Daisy as well.

My grandmother name was Daisy and my father used to have an old Zundapp Scooter with a Daisy on the front of it. It’s a DL650A so theirs a D and A in the type of the name and its bright yellow so that is how its become to be known as Daisy. And to top it all I really like the name. So me and Daisy  are in an empty restaurant with another dodgy Internet connection who says life on the road is boring not me 🙂

Arenal to Turrialba, Friday, 30 November 2012, Day 150

They seem to have some kind of symbiotic relationships see them together all the time

Its been pissing down all-night and still is when I get up so prepare for a wet day. Move Daisy out of the Restaurant she puts up a bit of a fight it looks like she is not looking forward to a wet day in the rain either. I have some help from the young lad from the hotel with packing my bike chatting away in Spanish to me but I still do have a clue what he is saying. I understand that he is impressed with my GPS shame I am not crock of shit device more fun and games with it today. First port of call was fuel for the Daisy and then fuel for Philly at a German Bakery the rain has turned into a drizzle it was a bit of a struggle parking Daisy as its wet and on a steep hill but eventually manage pull the sheepskin off to stop it getting wet and then I am greeted cheerfully with a handshake from the German owner of the Bakery who says he knows me from the internet so maybe I am famous out there in the Internet world or he says that to all Bikers that pull up to make us feel special well it did it for me. So a Cinnamon Roll and a Raison Roll and a Cappuccino for breakfast and I am ready for a damp day in the saddle. Pull on my waterproofs trying to remember the last time I had these on it has rained but never enough to need them for a while. The roads are damp and it’s drizzling with the occasional shower but nice road round the lake slippery in places and surface forever changing so need to keep me wits about me.

Nope I have no idea what it is either!

Got lost. How do you get lost when you have a GPS well I am buggered if I know the dam thing has not a clue where I am only has limited coverage of Costa Rica and forever telling me to head to a particular road number which is brilliant but it does not know where I am and in which direction said road is so in the end I am just using this as a tracking tool so where I have been which it can just about manage and I resort to the old paper map sun and compass and finally get back on track. Garmin this is one piece of shit you have sold me.

Great run in the morning through hills and countryside dull and overcast but it never really got that wet. I got out of my waterproofs at one point and for the middle part of the journey, which was not very nice. On a major road to Limon, which is, a harbour town so loads of trucks crawling up the hills so not many overtaking opportunities so in the end up crawling along at there speed which is frustrating. Eventually I turn of back into the mountains heading to a place called Turrialba. Beautiful run through twisty roads and gorgeous scenery so the day started great bit of a dip in the middle and a great grand finale. I cannot ask for much than that I rolled into town at about 4.30pm next try and find somewhere to sleep. I did a few rounds of the town which was busy and traffic and chaotic and could not see anything suitable or that I fancied staying when out of the corner of my eye I saw a sign saying hostel so cut across 3 lanes of traffic (I am driving like local these days) and I pulled up outside. It had parking behind a gate and without even looking at the room I had a dorm space. You get a feeling for these things so you know already that the rooms will be fine just from the look and feel and vibe from the front desk. And I was right fantastic clean modern Hostel with a homey feel Casa de Lis 6-bed dorm with on suite and a nice garden to chill out in. Sharing with an old codger (kettle calling the pot black) American who has been in Costa Rica for years he is in town to buy supplies as he lives in the middle of nowhere with no electricity and a few mod cons. He left the Army in 1974 after been in in Vietnam he is suffering from Diabetes linked to Agent Orange so is now getting a pension from the army he was pissed of with what he had been through in Nam so he went Costa Rica as it did not have an army at the time (I love that rational) and brought some land and has been living there on and off since then. Interesting chap but you could tell he been living a hermits existence or had not spoken to folk for a while as I get the same way when I go into my hermit mode so I recognised the characteristics. Andy Clark of Radio Netherlands please step forward and take a bow you have a fan this chap was an avid follower of your work on the radio and he misses you now that you are no longer broadcasting so he is asking the Dutch government to invest some money to get the full English Language Broadcast back on air.

I went for a wander round town and found a Chinese for my dinner Chicken Chou Min no noodles but some weird fried bready sticks. Different and I love that with Chinese in Latin America you always get a couple of slices of white bread with butter not very Chinese in my view but great for mopping up your plate 🙂

That name is going to start cropping up everywhere now 🙂

Moody night shot

Back to the Hostel sitting in the garden updating this and chatting to Dave (to be honest I have no idea what his name was as my memory has let me down yet again god I wish I could remember names!!!) the Vietnam vet.

Ibarra to Quito, Saturday, 22 December 2012, Day 172

Otavalo Market

      

      

  

A short day planned today driving to Quito I get there about 3pm ish and I realise that I have just crossed the equator another milestone where you are supposed to stop and take mandatory picture of you on either side of the equator but as I never saw any signs or anything to remind me of this so that was another photo opportunity missed. I did however stop at a great little market a say little allegedly it one of the biggest in South America in Otavalo. As I drove into town I saw a sign saying Mercado so I followed that and find myself at a local fruit and veg place with a couple of stalls. So if this the biggest market in South America than I have been diddled. I asked a local and he says the market I am looking for is in the center of town so quick detour and I park the bike and I spend a couple of hours wandering round this nice little town who’s majority of streets have been taken over by market stalls selling everything conceivable. I Had some breakfast in a local restaurant next to the market where a strange old man kept trying to clear away stuff from my table even though it was quite clear I had not yet finished it This must be his way of turning tables quickly.

 

oi move your blocking my view!

  

Next stop Quito (It should have been the Equator :-() to a hostel address Andrea had given me the Casa Bambu. GPS is useless so I spent hours looking for it with a small map from my lonely planet  guidebook and Quito is huge so it took me for ages I got quite close on many occasion but then got lost again. I finally I find the place and its on a very steep hill that I dare not park my bike on on so stop at the top and walk down to inquire about a room. It is a really cool place its like a maize once you are in I kept getting lost and they had a garage for the bike and a great roof garden with great views over Quito. So I settle in and the first thing I did was try and figure out how to get my GPS working so went onto http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl and downloaded a map of Ecuador which was 10 times better than the one I have. I spent the rest of the afternoon experimenting with http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl and I finally had the whole of South America on my GPS so I may now have a vague idea where I am going from now on. It was about 6pm when I had finished so I walked to a supermarket a Dutch girl had told me about 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back and I brought a microwave lasagne and walked back bit out of breath as the hill as mentioned earlier was very steep and Quito is at 2800 meters. When I got back to the Hostel I realised that they had no microwave so I had to figure out how to cook me dinner so thats 50 minutes a Bain Marie (cooking term :-)) it was disgusting.

views from the roof terrace

I spent the rest of the evening playing catch up with this blog which is all I ever seem to do these days and then beddy byes in a large room with 5 big single beds me and two Chinese girls oh err missis.

Quito to Macas, Monday, 24 December 2012, Day 174

Guess I am in the Amazon!

I had sort of arranged to meet Alex and Andrea, Joop and Fred for Christmas and the place was to be Cuenca. The problem was I had forgotten what day it was and thought I had an extra day to get there but nope it was going to be a one-day dash this should be doable especially with my navigations skills! I got out of Quito no problems thanks to my updated GPS maps that actually seem to work which was very strange for me as it has been a while since I had a clue to where I was 🙂

  

Nice run and the plan was to have a late breakfast early lunch in Riobamba as it is supposed to be a nice place. I did not like Riobamba that much so I drove straight through it and hit recalculate button on the GPS and I followed the instructions out of town through some little villages nice roads but I am not sure I am going in the right direction but I had new found faith in my GPS and surely it would not let me down and the road was great so I kept on going. Then it did it usual trick of turn left in 100 meters but there was no left turn! So kept going then it started telling me to do a U turn that I eventually I did and went back to the spot where the left turn was supposed to be. Yes there it was hidden behind the bushes was a dirt track leading into the mountains. Bugger if I am going down there check my Garmin settings to see if dirt track had been disabled and they had so Mr Garmin think this is a road. So I did what I always do in this situation I am not going to go back to Riobamba as I had done 50km already and so I just kept on going on this  road that was actually quite nice.

      

The signs where saying that this road was going to Macas and on my GPS it sort of looked like it was going in the right direction but I had forgotten that there are huge mountain ranges here with very few joining roads but onwards and forwards and at this point I had settled on the fact that I was no longer going to Cuenca but to Macas so lets have a look in the book and see where it is and if there is anywhere to stay.

Well it turns out its in the Amazon! So after driving through the Sangay National Park on a beautiful road cold and wet but very enjoyable it got down to 11 degrees at one stage so I had changed my gloves and put on a jumper for the first time since I am guessing Canada and there where a lot more trees and every so often huge lookout towers with great views when the clouds cleared. This is when I realised I was heading into the Amazon as there where huge signs saying Amazon. Well I was certainly was not planning on coming this way but its rather nice and Macas was going to my new destination for the night. About 25km out of Macas the perfect tarmac turned into a dirt track so it was off-road for the last hour or so and it started getting hot again as I descended into the Amazon cursing my GPS as I bounced down the mountain. I finally hit tarmac and Macas and I started looking for a Hotel the first one nice enough but no WI-FI next one had a swimming pool that I was never going to use but was reasonable enough so I settled in there and went for a wander now it is back up to 30 plus degrees so I had temperature variations of more than 20 degrees and my poor body has not got a clue what is going on 🙂

  

view from Macas

This evening entertainment is a pizza and watching the locals play volleyball I say volleyball but the net looks a lot higher and there are 3 on each team however its great to watch.

Back to the Hotel and a marathon update of this blog and I also found out that Fred and Joop did not make it to Cuenca because of bike trouble but Alex and Andrea had so plan to join them for Xmas. Yes it Christmas eve but it certainly does not feel like it.

Is it Xmas certainly does not feel like it!

Macas to Cuenca, Tuesday, 25 December 2012, Day 175

Merry Christmas from the Amazon!

looks like Philly is lost again 🙂

So I guess Santa does not deliver to the Amazon as there was nothing in my sock this morning except a bad smell. I did a Skype call to the folks to wish them a Merry Christmas and its back to the business of travelling to the point of South America. I was going to make a second attempt to get to Cuenca and meet up with Alex and Andrea. I had look at Google maps and there was no direct route I had to go South and double back however according to my GPS there was a more direct route through the mountains. Mmmm who do I believe I will make it up as I go along, as that is what I usually do 🙂

  

I grabbed some breakfast before I left town, as I did not want to be in the same position I was in yesterday hungry and nowhere for food. Gorgeous winding road through the foothills of the Andes and on the edge of the Amazon hot but okay as long as I kept moving this went on for about 100km I was really enjoying myself confident that its was going to be tarmac all the way to Cuenca. Then Mr Garmin GPS says turn right in 100 meter oh here we go again sharp U turn into a dirt track with a barrier that was open but a sign in Spanish saying Dangerous road enter at own risk. Mmmm another car pulled up next to me and the driver told me that yes this was the road to Cuenca. I ask what is it like his response was not bad and he points at his car saying he can do it in this so in other words I am wuz if I do not at least try. How far I ask is the road not bad response 60km so that 3 times further off road than I did yesterday and a good 2 hours hard slog. Oh well lets go for it, bouncy bounce Merry bloody Xmas of I set at between 20km and 30km an hour odd bits faster taking it easy as the surface was continually changing from hard compact mud to gravel to deep gravel to serious muddy mud up and down hills single track no track and everything in between. Biggest humiliation was being overtaken by the local bus but fortunately I had left my pride at the beginning of the track 🙂 Later on I saw the same bus in the distance and I was even slowly catching up with it and was keeping up with it for a while was I getting better at this off road malarkey nope the road was getting worse and worse yet my pace was not slowing so maybe I do have some talent for the dirt.

  

Trying to keep up with the local bus!

To add to my misery (Its not really that bad) I kept getting chased by dogs so here’s is me trying to keep the bike upright through whatever the terrain was kicking out and running along side me snapping at my legs are angry dogs. This is certainly a different way of spending Christmas. Later it got cool and even started to rain a bit making the road a tad more difficult and then after 2 hours plus of full on concentration I finally reached tarmac and an easy run into Cuenca to Hostel that Alex and Andrea where staying at and I was checked in bike parked in the hall and then I went for a quick wander round the town with Andrea before it got dark. That evening another Pizza (Its Xmas and that all that was open that’s my story and I am sticking to it :-)) and we watched a film called taken or kidnapped with Liam Neeson so finally a typical Xmas activity stuffed and watching a  film on the goggle box.

Xmas with Alex and Andrea 🙂

So that was my Xmas how was yours?

Cuenca to Canoas de Punta Sal, Wednesday, 26 December 2012,Day 176

Why did the chicken cross the road? So that he did not get squashed by Daisy

Riding with Alex and Andrea today so this is first time this trip except for the run to catch he boat in Panama City that I am riding with someone else. That was riding with a larger group with just the two bikes this should be easier. I am trusting my GPS to get us out of town with no problems and then  to the border into Peru and for once it does not disappoint so I may finally have a map that I can trust 🙂

Hot day and nice run first through the mountains road a mixed bag of good roads to awful lots of landslides so lots of rocks and loose debris on the road and road works where they have ripped the top surface of and left it like that for the time being so reasonable progress but you still had to be wary.

Dusty rough roads

  

We came out of the mountains on to a flat coastal plain next to the Pacific passing through banana plantations on our way to the border. We wanted to fill up before crossing the border, as fuel is cheap as chips in Ecuador but the petrol stations closest to the border where all shut so I am guessing it is to stop folk doing cheap petrol runs from Peru. We drove back about 5km and were able to fill up there we adversely jumped a huge queue which I did not see as I pulled into the station so a bit of laugh with the attendant and the soldier which where present at all the petrol stations near the border and then onto the border.

banana anyone?

First to the Aduana in Ecuador to check the bikes out we nearly missed this as it was not clearly marked and here we met the Columbian Bogotá V-strom club who were with about 10 bikes or so and we where behind them in all of the queues crossing the border which slowed us up a bit

Then to immigration for me which was in the same building so you queued to exit Ecuador and the right next to that the queue to enter Peru. Fortunately very few people so this part went quite quickly and the onto the Peruvian Aduana. Where we ended up behind the large group of Columbian Bogota V-strom club again.

Philly and Daisy Fan club waving us out of Ecuador

This is where we heard about mandatory insurance for Peru first time I heard of this as this was not one of the countries on my list that I needed to buy extra insurance as in theory this was covered in my total central and south America insurance so I was planning to bluff my way through this one and they did not ask for it but Alex had to pay 35USD for a months insurance. My problem was that they had put my Nationality down as Ireland again and my VIN number was incorrect so asked them to correct it but they refused they just crossed it out so I asked for a signature on the changes they got all pissy and so did I as I was hot tired and sweaty but there is no use in me getting angry as they have all the cards So the guy rips up my paper work and give me a blank form which I have to fill in by hand and this time with the right information. So with a bit of help from my new Columbian friends I had the paperwork completed and written in my bad handwriting but I had all the stamps and signatures on it so me and Daisy are allowed into yet another new country Peru wow we are really ticking them of the list 🙂

This had all taken about 2 hours and it just gone 4pm so we made tracks for Mancora which was about 129km away but we had already figured we where not going to make it before it got dark so we started stopping at all the beach type resorts places asking for rooms. This is where Andrea was useful we would  pull up and she would jump of and go in and check the prices and say yay or nay and if nay we would roll on the next one. She was also had been the official photographer for the day so loads of photos taken of Philly and Daisy on the move.

Alex & Andreas Ecuador Photos

Alex & Andreas Peru Photos

Not much luck on finding something as it is very expensive along this coast and when we did one last try before we where going to try again to get to Mancora where we knew there were cheaper options.

We had a bungalow on the beach 10USD each and they kept the kitchen open for us so fried fish and rice on the beach watching the sun go down with a mad kitten for company. Perfect I could not ask for much more even debating that it is so nice here we may have a rest day here tomorrow and that is awfully tempting as I have had a tough couple of days.

Nice here may stay another day