Tag Archives: Police Checkpoint

Granada, Sunday, 25 November 2012, Day 145

Busy Market in Granada

A bit of a sleep in then I hit the showers bugger no water easily resolved just a question of getting the pump switched on downstairs. Tried a Skype call home but continually getting an engaged signal so gave up and headed in to town to find somewhere for my breakfast. Simple exercise one would think but as I fancied pancakes and honey as I had seen them advertised on the central plaza I thought it was a no brainer but they did not have any I finally found a nice little place that did have pancakes on the way to the market so I had a nice relaxing breakfast there.

Cool little cafe for breakfast

Spent the rest of the day just wondering around the town people watching and taking loads of crap pictures.

Base Ball a national passion for old and young in Nicaragua

I spent some time watching the local play baseball there national sport and I eventually went back to the hostel where I sat on the balcony reading my Kindle and watching the world go by. I headed back into town again for dinner  and I found a Chinese restaurant down a side street and had the special fried rice with prawns and chicken I am hoping that the prawns do not come back and haunt me and then to the Eskimo ice cream shop for desert and I wander for some more before heading back to the hostel for more blog writing. So a bit of a rest day.

Yesterday I was stopped by the police and the first thing he said to me was that I had done an infraction which even with my bad Spanish I understood infraction seemingly I had been in the turn right lane and had gone straight on at a roundabout which was in fact correct but in my defence it was not well marked and I only saw this when it was to late so I plead my innocence and I am let of with a warning so maybe my Spanish is not so bad after all.

I was walking along the lake when this bloke starts taking photographs of me which is weird even weirder was when he asked whether his wife/girlfriend could take a picture with both of us on it which of course being the tart that I am I obliged so she took pictures of me and my new best mate! And then they jumped onto a horse and carriage and disappeared. I wonder who he thinks I was I had my yellow Valentino Rossi t shirt and I look like a smelly hippy but I guess he thought I was some celebrity or it was just plain weird. This used to happen to me all the time in China but it’s the first time this happened on this trip well weird me thinks

Granada to Balgue, Monday, 26 November 2012, Day 146

Loads of Volcanoes Vistas and I have no idea what the furry plant is answers on a postcard please

Back on the road again yet another short day I had planned to go to the Isle de Ometepe. My distances I am traveling these days are very short and this is for a couple of reasons. The heat, that there is a lot I want to see in Nicaragua and that I have heard that Costa Rica and Panama are expensive so I would rather spend more time here and then do a quick spurt through the other countries to catch my boat. I am in a sort of in a holding pattern keen on getting to South America and getting some serious miles under my belt but totally dependant on the boat so it looks like a few more short riding days for me for the next couple of weeks.

Nice run to San Jorge again pretty scenery cattle country and loads of volcanoes vistas. I pulled into the harbour usual chaos I had no idea how much the ferry was and what time it went but somehow managed to get on the next one which was leaving and it did not cost to much. Pretty rough considering this is a lake the wind was very strong whipping up the water so hard slog into the wind so made sure the bike was tied down securely. I nearly dropped the bike doing a U turn on the ferry the deck as it is sheet metal which has no grip but I  just managed to stay upright.

Ferry to Isla de Ometepe

First thing I did when hit the dry land was breakfast and then a lovely ride to Merida well that was the original plan.

Hit Rush hour leaving the habour

  

I got stopped by the cops who asked for all my papers and when I told them they where buried in my luggage they where then not to interested in seeing them but I had to pay 30 Cordoba’s (1 EUR) toll for the use of the road or a contribution as it is called here. The cop and the man with the clipboard pleasant enough so I coughed up and got a receipt but I am guessing I will be stopped again on my way back. I was heading to town called Merida and I had heard that for the last 10 km it was a dirt track but I was going to give it a crack anyways. So turned of onto the road and it was paved for a short while then it turned to crap. Huge boulders and no real track to follow so after 5 minutes I decide f**k this for a game of soldiers I managed to get the bike turned round and head back to the paved road into Balgue. The road was just too difficult for me and I had other options so I did not have to prove anything to anyone by continuing down that road. In Balgue I met some folks on the road and asked them about accommodation in the area and they pointed me to a coffee plantation about 1.5km up the hill. This was also dirt track but considerably more manageable than the road to Merida. So that is how I ended up Finca Magdalena a gorgeous run down old coffee plantation set in the side of one of the Ometepe volcanos with views over the bay to the other volcano.

Finca Magdalena Gorgeous old coffee plantation home for the next couple of nights

Lovely I have a little box with a bed in it and the views that are terrific so I presume the position chatting to the other inmates and watching the sun go down. Chicken soup for dinner and a reasonably early night as this is an early to bed early to rise type of place. I am glad that I was not able to do the road to Merida as it got me to this great little location

Boquete to Chitre, Monday, 3 December 2012, Day 153

Downtown Chitre

I have booked in a hostel in Panama City for tomorrow night but I am planning on taking 2 days to get there. The road between Boquete and David was pretty dull and I was expecting the Pan American to be dull as well with lots of trucks. Well I was wrong very pleasant run very few trucks and interesting enough scenery. So after riding around the hilly parts of Boquete I headed back to the Pan American.

Only problem today was that the place is covered in cops they are everywhere on the road with speed guns in every town and village you past through so have to keep a keen eye out for them and I stick very much to the speed limits. When I hit Chitre there where about 8 cop bikes with 2 cops on each of them all in full military riot gear and the bloke on the back carrying a machine gun so that 16 blokes with guns why I have no idea I am not sure if I should be scared or happy that there so much security around. I hit town quite early trying to find somewhere to stay finally end up in a Chinese Hotel in a cheapish room. I go for a walk around town and then head to McDonalds for me tea. I must confess it the second time today as I stopped at Macs on the way here for a drink and a Mcflurry ice cream.I just fancied some comfort food. I am stuffed so head back to my room and try and get this up to date.

Cartagena to Carceres, Saturday, 15 December 2012, Day 165

Who are pretty boy then

I am finally back on the road again not feeling that great as my guts they are rotten not sure if this is due to something I had eaten or drank or is just good old fashion fear of the trip that I am embarking on. Normally for me my guts seize up when I am scared and currently they cannot be described as seized as everything I eat or drink is going straight through me so it is not fear even though I am nervous about Phillys Big Trip Part 3 more so than with the first two parts why is that as so far everything has worked out and nothing has gone wrong so I am not sure how long this good luck will last and I know a lot more than when I started so with knowledge comes doubt so I would prefer going back to being totally ignorant as that has worked well for me so far but unfortunately that is not possible.

Said Ta Ta to the remaining folks and I pulled out straight into Cartagena rush hour so needed to be on the ball from the get go doing all of this without following through as my arse was on hair trigger.

Do not remember much of the journey as I was not feeling to great and I was just focusing on surviving rather than enjoying the scenery. It was very nice once I cleared the city and I was hoping to hit the hills soon but mostly in the low lands thus still hot for most of the day. Loads of Police control points but they mainly wave me through I was only stopped once for a complete check. All the roads here are toll roads but the good news is next to each toll booth there is a special track just for Motorcyclist as they do not have to pay I am not sure if I could always squeeze through with all my luggage but thus far I have managed to. I certainly would not pay the toll, as the roads are not that good with large stretches of dirt road for no apparent reason. I did quite a long day for the first day back in the saddle and for the the condition I was in and before I knew it was that time of day when the light is gorgeous and mother nature is teasing you just to keep on going then the slut will then turn the light out in a blink of an eye and you will go from gorgeous to riding into the pitch dark. Yet everyday I still get caught napping I am enjoying the ride and the light the road and the scenery I have just past another town with sleeping possibilities I am certain there will more down the road (does this sound familiar) I realised the next town further than the minutes of daylight left bugger another déjà vu moment. When I passed a petrol station that had a hotel and a small restaurant attached to it. A stroke of luck or perfect planning you decide 🙂

All the bridges are yellow

Cheap and cheerful and a place to myself it has been a while since I have any real privacy and I am finally on my own. Huge Sigh 🙂

My guts are still playing up and the restaurant does not have a menu so I am trying to explain in Spanish that I am looking at some simple food that I can keep down. End up with some meat soup as I believe it was some dodgy meat I had in Cartagena that got me in my current predicament so I eat only the liquid and the spuds and some lemon juice/vinegar that they said may help my stomach not. The place is in the middle of nowhere but I am joined by 3 police officers (Hallo, Hallo, Hallo I could not resist that it or is ola, ola, ola :-)) who are bored shitless and on duty so they decide to use me for entertainment chatting away in bad Spanish.

I am back to the room trying to get this updated but my hearts not in it so end listen to a Spanish lesson 1 of 30 I had got from Paul and some Billy Connelly MP3 in-between mad dashes to the loo. Good to be back on the road my only wish currently is that I had some control over me bowels 😦

 I nearly forgot

Happy Birthday dear Mummy Happy Birthday to you,

Lang zal ze leven Lang zal ze leven hip hip hora 🙂

 

Cali to Pasto, Thursday, 20 December 2012, Day 170

Guess I am sort of on the right road

Trying to remember this day as it was another long day I got out of Cali and headed into the hills. Daisy feeling good after the TLC she had received twisty roads with lots of slow moving traffic that needed to be past on blind corners and brows of hills you have got to be brave here or you will not get anywhere far fast but you can also be to brave as I past a crowd looking down a huge crevice where something had gone through the barrier I could not see what it was but I did not hang around to long to find out either.

Still no idea what had gone through the barrier

Later in the day it started to rain so that slowed the pace down as the roads turned greasy and it was getting late again. Remember I mentioned that there are toll roads here but next to each is a small track for motorcyclist to go through for free. So far I had managed to squeeze through with my luggage but today there was one it was late it was wet I was tired and I took a chunk out of the wall as I wet through I just tapped it but it put the bike into a bit of a wobble so that toll booth was not taken very graciously. I found out later others had issues with this toll booth as well Fred had hit it like I did but he smashed his luggage so bad that it needed repairs so I guess I was lucky but note to self check fittings and if it look like its to narrow slow down to check 🙂

  

Moody weather today

      

I pulled into town just as it was getting dark knackered I had a vague idea of a place to stay when the police stopped me. A big lecture about no bikes allowed on the square today or something like that but I do not understand Spanish when it comes to rozzers so feign ignorance but she keeps whitering on I had just let a pedestrian cross the road maybe that is what is upsetting her. She tells me to pull over by another copper so I do this and sit there like a lemon. The other cop is giving a ticket to another motorcyclist and I try and get his attention and he asks me what do I want? I point at the other cop and he shakes his head and tells me to bugger of so I do that very promptly. I turn around the corner pull over and get out my lonely planet, as I still need somewhere to stay. I have stopped outside a shoe shop and the bloke there asks me can he help and I say yes I am looking for a hotel and can he point me in the right direction. He gives me a funny look and points behind me and hey presto there is a hotel and it’s the one I was aiming for there are two doorman who have seemingly were also trying to get my attention as well god I am frazzled. So I pull into there car park thinking this is a bit posh as the bloke offers to carry all my kit to the front desk. It is a bit of a choker when I ask for the price of the room so when I have picked myself of the floor the negotiations began which involved getting the Manager. I managed to half the original price but still bloody expensive oh well a bit of posh never killed anyone so I agreed the price and went and got the rest of the kit of the bike which like I said was carried to the room by a bell boy. I get cleaned up and go in search for food but I am not staying out long at the rate I am paying then back to the room and watching the goggle box and I have a hot water bottle how posh is that 🙂

Note to self check prices of other folks recommendations as they may have a slightly different budget than the one you are travelling on but it was nice  bit of posh and it’s a lot cooler here so ideal for me who likes it cold when I am sleeping nice and cuddly under the blankets.

Cerro Sombrero to Rio Grande, Sunday, 3 February 2013, Day 215

Phillys under arrest by the Argentinean Police and very relieved by that fact 🙂

Dirt roads bring them on after a good night sleep I am ready for anything well that’s what I thought and as you can see by the title of this post I failed to make it Ushuaia 😦

I had breakfast and then I tried to find the final short bit of tarmac south but I got lost but I was helped by a nice policeman who led me to the right road. 15km then a sign saying Fin Pavimento so its dirt roads for me for  the next couple of hours 😦

End of tarmac dirt for a while oh great joy!

Weather is dull and overcast wind is getting stronger but it is on my back so that is okay and the scenery is interesting. As for the road this is a mix of washboard corrugated iron surface which shakes Daisy and me to death and or rocky stony gravel which is a bit better as there is route left by car and lorry tyres that is a bit smoother. But then I hit a place where they are working on the road and they have had the huge road smoothers out and I hate it when they do this as in my view this makes the terrain harder and less manageable for motorbikes and the nice smooth track left by larger vehicle’s is gone so slow going. Then the universe thought lets really take the piss out of Philly and Daisy and there was a perfect concrete road running parallel to the crappy dirt track but it was not yet open and or not easily accessible. I was chatting to a bloke on the ferry and he told me some bikers where killed on this trying to get on the new road and every couple of km there where sections missing so I decided not to risk sneaking onto the new road. The dirt track had turned to soft sand and it had been raining heavily all night so this was the most difficult part so its down to a snails pace for this section.

Dirt roads mine and Daisy’s favourite NOT!

Finally I hit the Chilean border and by now the wind was getting stronger so had to try and find somewhere out of the wind to park Daisy or she would be blown over while I went and did the Border formalities.

Daisy sheltering from the wind at the border

Quick and simple and then 15km to the Argentinian side of more dirt roads also simple only problem was the wind was getting stronger and scarier.

So final push to Ushuaia back on tarmac road again heading to Rio Grande where I need a cashpoint and some petrol. Both are easily found the problem is the wind it is getting stronger and stronger and more and more unmanageable. Driving through town I keep getting hammered by strong gust of wind and I am having difficult in keeping Daisy upright whilst filling up with Petrol.

So I thought as long as I kept moving I was fine and out of town the wind would be more manageable and I determined to get to Ushuaia today. What a total arse I am!!! Gingerly I made my way out of town jumping the traffic lights as I did not want to stop just in case I got blown over and then at one stage I was blown over 2 lanes of traffic and I was no longer in control. I get out of town and I am struggling to keep Daisy in her lane and I am physically trying to pull her into the right lane using her weight my weight and all my muscle power that I process but I am failing miserably and I keep moving uncontrollably into the oncoming traffic and that’s when the penny dropped that I was no longer in control and shouldn’t be out there. DICKHEAD!!

So what do I do I was scared shitless fighting a losing battle and getting tired and more scared as I inched forward I did not dare to stop I did not dare to turn round as I would be on my arse in a blink of an eye all I could do was look for some shelter but as I had left town and was now in open country so there was no obvious place to stop. Heeeeeelp!

In the distance there was a police control post and two policeman so I managed to get there and stop there with these two guys making sure that Daisy and I did not fall over so it was taking 3 of us to keep Daisy upright due to the wind. One of the coppers says “I advice that you do not go any further as it dangerous”. Really officer! I had concluded that as well just recently and I was totally done in scared shitless and exhausted and it took 3 of us to manhandle Daisy out of the wind and returned to their little hut.

So this is where I met Alejandro and Harnen my two favourite policemen in the whole world and pretty high on the list of my favourite people at that moment they had rescued Daisy and me from the clutches of the wind which was going to seriously damage both of us if I was to continue.

It was about 3pm and the guys told me that the wind should drop at about 8pm that evening so I settled in for a long wait as I was going nowhere just happy to be alive Daisy was parked behind Alejandro car with a big metal bar holding her upright.

Sheltered behind Alejandro car and huge stick to stop her blowing over and she still moving which you can not see in the picture!

      

So I spent of the day chatting with my new friends drinking Mate first hot and later cold with orange juice learning the whole ritual about Mate which is local drink and custom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mate_(beverage) and it is quite sociable.

The guys should have been checking the vehicles as they past but due to the wind they where having an easy day as it was pretty impossible to stand out in the wind and any documentation shown would be blown to Antarctica before you knew it.

So just chatting in Spanish Alejandro chatty Harnen very quite loads of questions about how much living in Europe cost, as Alejandro was only a policeman as a temporary measure and was studying mathematics and was going to be high school teacher once he had completed his studies so was fascinated by economics and numbers. Unfortunately Philly has no idea what anything cost or the price of milk so I was not much help but did my best in telling him in my bad Spanish about living in Europe.

We had a visit from the Desk Sergeant so I met him as well and then back to the Mate and the chatting.

During the day more Bikers came through and each time they would be advised about not travelling further because of the wind and it was amazing how many people ignored this advise and kept on going the arrogance or the ignorance amazed me. Others joined us in the hut so in the end there where 6 bikes.

Just to give you an idea how strong the wind was 2 Chilean bikers where stopped and given the advice and while talking a gust of wind picked one of them up and his bike and blew them completely over. They listened to the advice given 🙂

So very gezellig in the hut and before I knew it was 8pm and I been there 5 hours but the wind still showed no signs of abating. There was change of shift at 10pm so said goodbye and thank you to my new friends and hello to the next shift of police who where much more serious. At about 10.30pm me and 2 Columbian brothers Julian and Daniel Ruiz decide the wind has dropped enough for riding back to Rio Grande to try and find somewhere to sleep for the night its dark the wind is still gusting but you can ride and control your bike sort off!

First place closed second place bloody expensive and then we find Ruta 40 B & B and Willy which is reasonable so we have shelter for the night it 11.30pm Daniel has managed to get some Roast Chicken for dinner and we are safe and sound enjoying a meal together.

Late night as still buzzing from the day I had just had I did not make Ushuaia but I was just happy to be in one piece and I will try and will complete my goal tomorrow as the wind should have dropped by then (Oh god I hope so as I am so close!)