Central America

NOTE:  Instead of one continuous page, we are doing posts – see the archives listed by month – should be easier for you to view!  Thanks for following us!

Off to the lovely shores of the oh so not so cold Mexico, our gateway to the whole of Central America. As we cruise through Latin America, join us on our expedition among the many varied cultures of our southern friends.

Scott and Vickie

Scott and Vickie

December 26, 2012

A break in the weather caused us to pack up a day early and take off.  It took Scott about 10 feet across the snow-covered driveway before he decided we should load the bike into the back of Jake’s truck and have Ben and Matt drive us down to Redlands.

In Big Bear, loading the bike into Jake's truck

In Big Bear, loading the bike into Jake’s truck

It was dark when we got down to Redlands and off-loaded the bike at In-N-Out.  Had to have some dinner, of course, before we headed to the hotel in Colton.

December 27, 2012

We were up and on the road early.  The skies were clear, but it was a bit chilly – low 40s.  Our new motoport gear is warm – we were wishing that we had it for our Alaska trip!

Arizona border!

Arizona border!

Kyle and Jessica

Kyle and Jessica

Playing hell, of course!

Playing hell, of course!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Left Tucson at 7:30 am — it was a brisk 37 degrees.  I thought Arizona was always warm….?!!  We drove south from Tucson to the border crossing at Nogales.

Welcome to Mexico!

Welcome to Mexico!

Headed south on the toll road 15 toward Hermasillo.  The toll road – two lanes each direction  – had  quite a bit of construction activity that took it down to one lane each direction off an on, but the road is good and not too much traffic.  One toll booth charged 12 pesos, the second 32 pesos for the moto.

Driving on the toll road

Driving on the toll road

W pulled into Hermasillo about 2:30 and found an ATM – all set with pesos for now.  Decided to stay the night.  Checked one hotel that wasn’t up to par – they directed Scott to the “best” one in town and that is where we are – The Siesta.  The room is very nice, clean, flat screen, tv and wifi.  All for around $50.

La Siesta Hotel, Hermasillo

La Siesta Hotel, Hermasillo

Our walk to a pretty church on a hill

Our walk to a pretty church on a hill

December 30, 2012

Started our day with a run – our new running shoes (Thank you Jessica!) that we bought in Tucson at Fleetfeet are great.  Scott is running with me (as my body guard ha!).  It seems like everyone here stays up really really late and gets up really really late!  We saw just a few people when we were out running.  Check out at our hotel isn’t until 1:00 pm.  Had breakfast at the hotel restaurant.  We had a little trouble ordering orange juice – I know we will get the hang of this eventually!  I had the most delicious bowl of yogurt, granola and fruit.  Scott ordered chorizo and eggs – the waiter looked at him a little perplexed when he asked for potatoes.  Scott said he would be happy to pay extra, he just wanted potatoes with his chorizo.  We were almost done with breakfast when the waiter brings Scott a plate of french fries and ketchup.  Hmm…..

Continued down the toll road through 3 or 4 more toll booths.  About 1:30 pm decided to take a break and stop for lunch.  This little chicken stand looked promising…

Pollo for lunch

Lunch at Ricos – a little pollo place on the toll road

Grilled chicken, tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and salsa – yum!

Lots to watch as we ate lunch

Lots to watch as we ate lunch

We rode off the toll road about 20 minutes to see if we could find some missionaries from the Packinghouse that live in Alamos.  We found Rancho Maranatha, but it was abandoned.  Disappointing – it used to be an orphanage and school.

Rancho Maranatha

Rancho Maranatha

Not sure which town this was, but there is a Dominos in most towns we are passing through.

Dominos delivers!

Dominos delivers!

Our hotel tonight :)

Our hotel tonight 🙂

Our hotel tonight is just outside of the town of Los Mochis.  We decided to stop here because they have a restaurant, and it looks pretty new.  It is a “rendezvous” hotel – seriously!  It’s amenities are amusing 🙂 to say the least.

Los Mochis sunset

Los Mochis sunset

Got hit with a few hours of rain, so we are warming up in the hotel restaurant, eating chips and mariscos while using the internet.  Tomorrow we should be in Mazatlan for New Years.  Good night y’all!  or I guess it really should be Buenos Noches amigos!

December 31, 2012

Left by 8:00 am from Los Mochis after breakfast at the hotel.  Yogurt with papaya, melon, apple, pears – yum.  That was my breakfast.  Scott had huevos gustos….

Somewhere between Los Mochis and Mazatlan

Crop duster plane, somewhere between Los Mochis and Mazatlan

Somewhere between Los Muchos and Mazatlan

Somewhere between Los Muchos and Mazatlan

Drove through miles of agricultural area today… very lush and green.  Saw herds of cattle and goats right along the toll road.  So many toll stops today, I think we had to stop at least 10 booths where we had to pay from 10 pesos to 32 pesos.

fields and fields of corn

fields and fields of corn, cucumbers and tomatoes

Sunset in Mazatlon

Sunset in Mazatlon

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!!!! We are in Mazatlan safe and sound.

January 1, 2013

I ran about 4 miles this morning along the beachfront walkway – and felt completely safe (I say this because Mazatlan is supposed to be one of the most dangerous cities….).  There were several other people running and biking.

Child safety seat

Child safety seat

We took off south toward San Blas – still on the toll road.  Great ride – I think we average about 80-90 mph, with not much traffic.  We got off on a wrong exit, and while going through the process of getting off and back on (which means paying a toll both ways!) we met up with a guy from Spain on a Triumph 800 motorcycle.  He was riding from Florida, to California and down Baja to Mexico City where the bike was going to be shipped.  He spoke English very well.  First rider we have seen.  We are riding through more agricultural land and it is getting to be more tropical.  Rain started at noon and continued all day.  We pulled into San Blas after noon.  Scott found us a great hotel – Hotel Marina San Blas – right on the water.

Hotel Marina San Blas

Hotel Marina San Blas

Banana trees!Banana trees!

Beautiful tile work

Beautiful tile work

Hotel Marina San Blas

Hotel Marina San Blas

Our room has a great view of palm trees and the ocean inlet.  We are staying 2 nights – $75 a night – and all the  we like (toilet paper, hot water, in room coffee and quiet!).

The town is great – not too touristy (yet!).  I guess they have plans for bringing cruise ships in soon…. The town was devastated 10 years ago by a hurricane, so you can see some remains of the damage.

San Blas sunset

San Blas sunset

The town is great – not too touristy (yet!).  I guess they have plans for bringing cruise ships in soon…. The town was devastated 10 years ago by a hurricane, so you can see some remains of the damage.

We relaxed all afternoon, then decided to go out for a local dinner.  We had seen several restaurants grilling lobster and fish.  Our mistake was not dealing with the price before we ate – I guess that restaurant owner was very happy with what he charged us gringos!!!! The lobster was delicious none the less!

January 2, 2013

The best night’s rest so far!!!!! Ah, peace and quiet – the only noise was the wind blowing through the palm trees.  We had breakfast (yes, a real breakfast!!) at El Delfin and then Scott worked  for a while online/phone.  We don’t have wifi in our room, so we have to hang out in the hotel reception area to connect the phone or computer.  Not a problem, except for the bugs – we are using our repellent!

We went kayaking across the inlet and hiked through the mangroves to a beautiful beach. I ran a mile or so along the beach and then we went swimming.  Still overcast, but around 80 degrees – can’t complain!

Took a nap, then decided to go for lunch.  As we were leaving the hotel, we hit some soft sand and dumped the bike.  A few more bruises for both of us….

McDonalds!

McDonalds!

We went to McDonalds for lunch.  Beautiful restaurant and reasonably priced – I had caesar salad with shrimp, and Scott had chicken enchiladas.

McDonalds

McDonalds

I guess you  might be able to tell what we like to do…. eat and sleep!  Ha!  We sat in the town square for a while watching people, so entertaining!  The trees are full of birds – reminds me of the tiki garden at Disneyland – seriously!!!! We checked out the San Blas Social Club this evening – owned by two guys from Manhattan.  One partner, Charles, lives in San Blas 6 months out of the year, the other partner comes down for a few weeks each year.  Nice to talk to some gringos and business people.  Charles prepared us some Diablo Shrimp for dinner – very good with some unexpected presentation!

The city is putting in underground utilities - really!

The city is putting in underground utilities – really!

January 3, 2013

Had breakfast at Mc.Donald again – then checked out and headed toward Puerto Vallarta.

Checking out - and yes, that is Scott driving through the hotel lobby

Checking out – and yes, that is Scott driving through the hotel lobby

We are riding through jungle – sometimes the canopy is completely covering the road.

Following the local police

Following the local police

It is beautiful.  Hit a lot of traffic, however, so 2 1/2 hours later we finally get into Puert0 Vallarta.  At 85 degrees and traffic, we are sweating profusely!!!! We parked the bike to rest and noticed an Italian restaurant across the street.  Had lunch there and got our bearings – they had wifi so we were able to check out some accommodations online.  Found a boutique hotel online called Villa Olivia.

Villa Olivia

Villa Olivia

Couldn’t phone, so we drove the few blocks over to see if they have availability.  The owner just happened to be down at the street level when we pulled up – wow, what a find.  Our room has an amazing view of the ocean – we can hear the waves crashing – and it is very well appointed ($90 a night).  Denise is French-Canadian and has 16 rooms, lives on site, and speaks French (yeah, I can practice!), Spanish and English.  She is very gracious – I did practice some of the French I have been learning….. she said she just loves it when and English person speaks French because she loves the accent they give it – hahaha – yeah right, I am sure I butchered it!!!!

View from Villa Olivia

View from Villa Olivia

Got settled in, relaxed on the balcony and watched the sun set.  We took a walk down the Malecon tonight – boardwalk along the beach.  There are quite a few tourists here – more than I expected.  We had  fish tacos on the sand… loving this trip! 🙂

January 4, 2013

Enjoying Puerto Vallarta….

hat anyone? or maybe a dress?
hat anyone? or maybe a dress?
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, on the Malecon
Bouganvillea
Bougainvillea
Pharmacy, doctor and sodas all in one stop
Pharmacy, doctor and sodas all in one stop
Puerto Vallarta beach
Puerto Vallarta beach
Pirate Ship Marigalante
Pirate Ship Marigalante
Fireworks celebrating the reopening of the wharf
Fireworks celebrating the reopening of the wharf
fireworks
fireworks

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guacamole and chips
guacamole and chips
funny mime
funny mime
very entertaining!
very entertaining!

January 5, 2012

Left Puerto Vallarta after breakfast.  I am really enjoying all the fresh fruit here – usually papaya, apple, pears, bananas, pineapple…. We continued south on Hwy 200 – lots of curves on this road.  Scott keeps scraping his boot tips!

curves
curves
curves...
curves…
...more curves
…more curves
grass maintenance in the center divider
grass maintenance in the center divider
one of many nativity scenes
one of many nativity scenes
in the corner of the nativity - satan!
in the corner of the nativity – satan!
Gasoline!
Gasoline!
Check out this truck filled with chili peppers!
Check out this truck filled with chili peppers!
coconuts
coconuts
someone who didn't make the curve - Curva Peligrosa!
someone who didn’t make the curve – Curva Peligrosa!

This picture shows a cross- typical especially around a dangerous curve where someone has died.  This one is very large and ornate with candles and flowers.

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taxi
taxi

The temperature is getting up to 90 degrees during the day.  Not too bad if we are riding at a good speed, but as soon as we hit traffic we start sweating!  Stopped for lunch at a roadside fruit stand – had papaya, watermelon and pineapple.  Delicious!

Roadside fruit stand
Roadside fruit stand
lunch!
lunch!

We decided to stop at a little beach town called San Juan – we ended up at Hacienda Trinidad, a beautiful hotel with pool and restaurant right on the water.  We got into the pool to cool off as soon as we could, then swam in the ocean.  The ocean water is really warm!!!!

Entrance to the Hacienada Trinidad
Entrance to the Hacienada Trinidad
Nice folding of the towels
Nice folding of the towels
Hacienda
Hacienda Trinidad
Hacienda Trinidad
Hacienda Trinidad

Dinner was camerones (shrimp) and guacamole while watching the sun set.  I don’t think I will ever tire of these beautiful sunsets!

Just another beautiful sunset!
Just another beautiful sunset!

January 6, 2013

Took a run on the the beach to start the day.  Took off around noon after listening to Pastor Ed preach from the Packinghouse (the internet is an amazing thing!), Calvary Chapel in Redlands.  We rode through more curves – and many small towns.

Endless beach!
Endless beach!

Every time we come to a town, there are topes  – speed bumps.  Two or three bumps, 500 feet or so apart, that slow the traffic.  We usually zip on past – but sometimes the topes are large, or unexpected, and we get jarred pretty good.  Stopped and ate lunch at a restaurant on the beach – carne asada burrito!  Lots of Americans – guess it is a good surfing beach.  Not the greatest accommodations….

Donkey in the road….P1040016

We got to Playa Azul – a little fishing village, where we thought we would find a hotel.  No hotels to be found – so drove on and on until we came to a large city, Lazaro Cardenas.  Found a hotel just before it got dark!  Cooled off in the hotel pool.

January 7, 2013

Our hotel included breakfast – yes! After we ate, we decided to stay another night here – just to relax and rest.  Next door to the hotel is a great little cafe with live music.  Had dinner and then my romantic husband made me dance with him…  ❤ ❤ ❤

On to Acapulco tomorrow!

January 8, 2013

Our ride today was good!  Not too much traffic once we got out of the city. We left at 8 am so it seemed much cooler at first.

Wide load - oversized load?
Wide load – oversized load?

We experienced some construction on the toll road today…. riding along and the road gets narrow, we are now on the oncoming traffic lane with an 6 inch step up to the other lane that is newly paved – no signs, no warnings….  so glad there wasn’t much traffic!  Then, the step up disappears to a step down at least 8 inches at the very edge of the pavement.  All I can say is that you don’t have to worry about us driving these roads at night!

Road work - the difference between road and dirt is a good 8 inches or more! Quite terrifying!
Road work – the difference between road and dirt is a good 8 inches or more!

We drove into Acapulco around lunch time, looking for a restaurant and a place to stay.  Into the 90s now – and warm!

porsche
porsche
topo
tope
topo on a motorcycle, good thing Scott knows what he is doing!
Tope…. on a motorcycle? Good thing Scott knows what he is doing!  This is actually an easy one!

Another child safety seatAnother child safety seat (good for up to 80 mph)

Sams Club - Mexican style
Sams Club – Mexican style
Acapulco bug taxi
Acapulco bug taxi
Acapulco!
Acapulco!

To drive into the larger cities is a bit overwhelming, so we are learning to stop and get our bearings.  We ended up driving through the city, then made a u-turn to head back to a restaurant.  A police car with two policeman began motioning us to pull over.  Scott ignored him at first, but then he had to pull over.  One of the guys came up to us and told Scott that he made a dangerous turn and could have caused an accident.  He asked for his drivers license and paperwork.  Scott handed it to him, then the policeman says that Scott can go to the police station tomorrow morning at 8 am to pay his ticket and get his license and paperwork returned.  Scott says, “NO! I will follow you to the police station NOW, you WILL NOT take my license!”  The policeman continues to argue and Scott keeps answering the same, more and more emphatically (yes, he was yelling loudly at the guy!).   Finally the policeman says “Okay, follow me”- and gets in his car.  I had my camera in my hand, so I turned around and took a picture of the police car and its plate.  The policeman jumps out of his car, comes up and tells me not to take a picture of the police.  He asks for my camera – both Scott and I say, “NO, NO, NO!!!!”  The policeman then says I must delete the picture, then he will give Scott his license and paperwork.  I show him that I am deleting the picture and he returns the license and paperwork and we are on our way! Ha!  (sorry, I really did have to delete the policeman’s picture – otherwise I would have posted it!)

We continued south looking for lunch – ended up in a Mexican tourist beach restaurant.  Mexican tourist beaches are a little different than American tourist beaches. The Mexican tourist beaches have no hotels, all restaurants lined up on the beach with palapas and little built in swimming pools for the kids. If you can find a hotel, they are usually back off the beach and very small and dirty.  Had some soda and shrimp, then after driving a few more miles with no hotels in sight, we turned around and went to Starbucks.  Got internet and looked up some places to rent on VRBO.  Found a very nice condo right on the beach for $100 a night – staying 3 nights. The complex is beautiful with 2 pools and gorgeous beach.

Pool on the sand
Pool on the sand
Acapulco Sunset
Acapulco Sunset
January 9-10, 2013
Enjoying Acapulco! So nice to stay put for a few days and get some sun, eat delicious food,  exercise and celebrate our anniversary!

Anniversary breakfast! :)
Anniversary breakfast with my hubby! Celebrating 32 years together  🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤
La Quebrada - watching the cliff divers
La Quebrada – watching the cliff divers (the cliff is behind us!)
La Quedraba cliff divers
La Quebraba cliff divers – you can see the divers on the top of the cliff, and the one about to hit the water – amazing show!
Cliff divers - this one is for you, Jessica!
The cliff divers 🙂
La Quebrada
La Quebrada
Acapulco
Acapulco
Acapulco
Acapulco
Acapulco
Acapulco
coconuts
coconuts

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poolside Velera y Galeon condos, Acapulco
poolside Velero y Galeon condos, Acapulco
Military truck - common sight
Military truck – common sight all over the city as well as the federales.  Their presence in the city has improved the crime problem from what we understand.
94 degrees at 8 pm!
94 degrees at 8 pm!
Magical dinner at Zibu
Magical dinner at Zibu

I must say, Scott outdid himself on creating the most romantic anniversary EVER!  I can’t begin to describe the dinner we just experienced – from the first taste to the last every thing was perfection!  Mexthai – a combination of Mexian and Thai cuisine.  Nothing we have eaten has ever compared to the meal we just finished.

Back on the road tomorrow – I will miss you, Acapulco!

January 11 – 14, 2013

Left early (8:30 am is early here!!!). The ride was more inland, which means WARM! At one point it reached 100 degrees.  As we rode, we began to notice diesel on the road – not such a good thing when you are on a motorcycle. The back tire slipped three different times, but Scott kept us upright. The diesel lasted for a good treacherous 30 miles. Our progress was also slow because of the many towns we were riding through – slowing down for traffic and topes.  I guess this ride takes 7 hours in a car… we did it in about 5 hours.

taxi?
taxi?
yes, a taxi!
yes, a taxi!
cows
cows

We had not eaten breakfast, so lunch was beginning to become a priority. We would look carefully in each town, but didn’t see anything that looked decent. Finally, around 1:30 pm, we come around a curve to see La Perla – a little restaurant with a lovely pool next to it. Yeah! We cooled off in the pool and then had chicken fajitas and shrimp – watching a mexican señora make our tortillas over a fire. Just what we needed – the swim was so refreshing! Now we understand and appreciate a little more the reason for the pool at a restaurant!

La Perla restaurant and pool
La Perla restaurant and pool
nice pool to cool off in
nice pool to cool off in
Our host and chef
Our host and chef
happy man
happy man

Got to Puerto Escondido around 4:30 pm and started looking for a place to stay. The northern beaches are small little beaches with bays, packed with Mexicans (which means they would be making noise ALL night long!) We were so happy to drive a little further to find a Zicatela Beach – a long stretch of beautiful beach known for its surfing.

Zicatela Beach - such a crowded beach!!!!
Zicatela Beach – such a crowded beach!!!!

P1040131There are many Canadians here – and many surfers. But with that, there are good restaurants and many English-speaking shop owners. We found a great hotel in a quiet area – the Blater Hotel opened in August, so everything is brand new and beautiful. The infinity pool on top of the hotel has an endless view of the beach.  It seems like we are the only ones here.

roof top pool
roof top pool

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Blater Hotel
Blater Hotel
view from our room :)
view from our room 🙂
good waves
good waves
roof top pool
roof top pool

Scott is loving being able to body surf every day – so much so that we are staying here a week.  I am running on the beach every morning – and working on my tan 🙂  Everything is very inexpensive here – food and lodging both.  We found a restaurant we like that has french pastries, fresh oj, delicious coffee and fresh fruit (papaya, cantaloup, watermelon, pineapple and bananas) for breakfast…

body surfing
on his way out to go body surfing
sunset at Zicatela
sunset at Zicatela
Horses on the beach
Horses on the beach
Horses grazing in front of the hotel
Horses grazing in front of the hotel

Sunday morning church
Sunday morning church

We found a church to go to on Sunday morning, held at someone’s home in their carport/breezeway – met two missionary families.  Mondo and Myra and their 4 kids work with the surfer’s ministry.  Sherry and Ronnie and their 8 kids have a soccer ministry.  Both are from Southern California – Manhattan Beach/Redondo Beach area!  Mondo preached in English while his oldest son (16 or so) translated. Both families homeschool – their kids are so sweet!!!!  We were very impressed with them.  The church has a very international congregation (US, Canada, Austria, Mexican, Brazilian, just to name a few) and everyone was very welcoming and friendly. Worship was led by three – a guitar, mandolin and drum – we sang most songs in Spanish, but some in English.

fisherman
fisherman
Restaurant seating on the sand
Restaurant seating on the sand

We are hearing about how cold it is at home -11 degrees…. and we are so thankful to Aimee and Ben for dealing with all the frozen pipes and issues at the ranch!!!!  It is hard to imagine that depth of cold when we have to keep getting in the water several times a day to stay cool!

skydivers land on the beach each evening at sunset
skydivers land on the beach each evening at sunset
skydivers land on the beach every evening at sunset
tandem skydivers
Birds in a tree - wish you could hear the song they sing!
Birds in a tree above where we were sitting to watch the sun set – wish you could hear the song they sing – another Disney tiki garden 🙂
Sunset....
Sunset on Zicatela Beach….
January 17, 2013Puerto Music Fest at the Split Coconut on the beach – three bands playing Led Zepellin and Rolling Stones to Rockabilly.  It was very interesting (and amusing!) to hear American songs sung by Mexicans…. 🙂

Puerto Music Fest
Puerto Music Fest

January 18, 2013

We were enjoying breakfast this morning when a 4.8 earthquake hit – centered about 30 miles away.  It was very short, but most of the people in the restaurant were half way out of the building in the first 5 seconds.  I am so glad we weren’t in our hotel – our room is directly under the swimming pool!

This has been a week of lazy days enjoying the beach, napping and eating at the numerous restaurants on the beach….

view from our table at lunch
view from our table at lunch
coca cola
coca cola con hielo – with ice!
ice cream
ice cream on the sand

Sitting at our table, different people came by selling their wares…. hard way to make a living!

purse? bag?
Mixtec indian selling her wares – purse? bag?
song?
song?
Puerto Angelina
Playa Marinero
Puerto Angelina
Playa Marinero
Just north of Zicatela
Playa Marinero – Just north of Zicatela BEach
pelicans
pelicans

There are just two or three English channels on tv….  watching Aljazeera News from London is interesting, especially when Jared is the newscaster – ha ha!

Jared on Aljazeera News
Jared on Aljazeera News – sort of 🙂

January 19, 2013

zicatela
Zicatela Beach

Running on this beach every morning has been so good…. as I ran this morning, I noticed all the footprints of other people walking and running along the beach.  Everyone seems to walk in the same pathway, churning up the sand – but then the waves come and the footprints disappear, leaving a perfect beautiful sandy beach.  Isn’t that just like what Jesus does with our sin?  Our lives get all churned up with sin and when we turn to Him, He washes it all away…. completely!

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beach
beach
waves
waves

Today, we went back to Dr. Jesus to get our crowns – he did a great job, all for about 1/4 the cost in the U.S.

Dr. Jesus - our dentist
Dr. Jesus – our dentist0

Then back to the mercado today…..

getting a haircut for $2.32
getting a haircut for $2.32 in the mercado

We found El Pollo Loco!  Two very motivated women, Sherry and Maria, spent time in the US – working and saving their money – and returned to Mexico to buy this property, build this building and open their own restaurant in one section, renting out the other spaces. Their restaurant has been open only two months.  The food was delicious and their kitchen was so neat and clean.  We enjoyed eating in their restaurant two different times.  Such precious ladies!  🙂

Sherry and Maria - El Pollo Loco
Sherry and Maria – El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco
Dinner by candlelight <3
Dinner by candlelight ❤
nice haircut1
nice haircut!

Sunset on Playa MarineloSunset on Playa Marinelo

January 20, 2013

We got on the road early today – the weather was a cool 70 degrees.  The ride was along the coast for the first hour, then turned inland.  The landscape changed to a more arid terrain and the temperature rose.

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tunnel
tunnel

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We stopped at Sam’s Club around 11:30 to see if they had malaria medicine (we want to be ready for the jungle in Guatemala!), and ended up having pizza for lunch – it wasn’t bad!

Passed through a town with yet another type of taxi…. this one is a motorcycle pulling a cart.

taxi
taxi

Within the next hour as we rode on, it became very windy – the gusts were really strong.  Not too much fun on the motorcycle.  We were wondering if a storm was blowing in until we saw the windmills…. miles and miles and miles of windmills!  A strange sight to see towering over the locals simple homes.

windmills
windmills

Decided to pull off the main highway and check out Puerto Arrista…. found a hotel on the beach and got settled in.

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In 2010, the town was hit with a huge wave – most of the town is a wreck!  The beach is pretty, but very windswept.  We walked around the town, over to the lighthouse- not much to see… kind of a sad little place!

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Tomorrow we will cross into Guatemala!

January 21, 2013

We were on the road at 6:15 am after Scott had a nice cold shower 🙂  We have come up with our own criteria when looking for a hotel… 1)  We will not take the first hotel, but will look at two or three, 2) The room must have a/c or heat (depending on the weather),  3) it must have hot water,  4) wifi, and 5) a secure parking lot….

Sunrise
Sunrise

It was 70 degrees – perfect for riding and watching the sun rise.  We hit a couple of military check points.  At one, we were stopped and asked to open our cases.  Scott opened two – the guard moved some things around and looked inside.  I opened my side, unzipped my bag and stood back.  The guard sees my lacy underwear and puts his hands behind his back, looks very embarrassed and mutters,  “Okay”   On our way again….

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We ride through some beautiful ranch land.  There are beautiful trees blooming in pink, many cows and horses.  Then there is the ever-present smoke and smell of burning trash.

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We have seen some interesting things in the back of pick up trucks….horses….P1040346

pigs (lots of these!)…P1040367

pigs
pigs

Furniture and always people…

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The road is two lanes each direction.  The semi trucks like to ride down the center which can get a bit sketchy when we are passing.  Another interesting driving tactic is a driver with his left signal on – it could mean he is turning left…. or it could mean he wants you to pass…. deciding which it is can be tricky!

We got to the border of Guatemala about 8:30 am.  It took about two hours to get through customs.  A guy offers to help Scott with the process, but he is trying to get some cash (the short guy in the yellow shirt –  the other two men are money changers).  They, along with several other guys, followed Scott around the entire time like little gnats.

Scott with his "helpers"
Scott with his “helpers”
Waiting in line for the Banco
Waiting in line for the Banco

By the time Scott got everything taken care of, we were hot, thirsty and hungry.

lunch
lunch

We drive for a little while until we see a restaurant – stop for carne asada…

P1040365

We needed an ATM, so we got some direction to one in the next little town – Carolina.  The main street was all blocked off because of market day, so Scott leaves me with the bike while he walks 6 blocks to the ATM.  I had fun watching the ladies go to market – they wore pretty aprons will ruffles and pockets, must be like their purse – that is where they would put their money, etc.  The 3-wheeled taxis, tut-tut, drivers were all over the place taking people to and from the market.  The tut-tuts would get all jammed together and then lay on their horns continuously.  I had a few people stop and try to talk to me, but most just stood in the doorways and on the sidewalk and stared at me.  Scott finally got back and we were on our way.

P1040356

This is the land of tall trees and short people!  The terrain has turned to thick jungle.  As we go north toward the Pan-American Highway, we are climbing in elevation quickly until we are well over 8,000 feet.  It is cloudy and drizzly and in the upper 60s.

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We come to a town high in the clouds.  The fields on the steep hillsides are being worked by the villagers – it looks like a patchwork quilt.  We stop at one hotel, and decide to see what other options there are.  As we drive through the narrow cobblestone streets of the town, the villagers stare at us.  We stopped at a little market to get a pepsi.  As we sat for awhile, the villagers that passed by would look at us solemnly.  We would say “Buenos Tardes” and their faces would light up, grinning they would return our greeting.

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 P1040385

P1040386

We drove through the town and realize there are no other options, so back to El Paso A San Martin, the hotel we looked at…  our room is about 10 x 12 and hasn’t been cleaned in awhile, we are hoping the sheets are clean….(?)  I took a warm (?) shower while Scott tries to talk with some guys in the restaurant.  Disco music is rocking – hope it doesn’t go too late tonight.  The guys in the restaurant don’t speak English, but they are singing loudly to American rock.  This hotel has secure parking – I guess one out of five isn’t bad. I slept in my clothes….. 🙂

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Scott’s drinking”buddies”P1040397

Anna, with baby on her back,  and Daisy Anna Bella

Anna, the hostess and cook, prepared us hamburgers (Guatemalan style) for $6 total – not too sure what kind of meat was used…  She has 3 children, her oldest daughter is Daisy Anna-Bella.

January 22, 2013

Took off early – 7:30 am – put our liners in at 46 degrees.  Got to the larger town of Quetzaltenango and ate breakfast at McDonalds – it is nee to have something familiar to eat, even if it is McDonalds!  We would never choose McDonalds at home, but it is a whole different story here!

Me and Ronald (don't I look petite?!)
Me and Ronald (don’t I look petite?!)
Quetzeltenango
Quetzaltenango
Quetzeltenango
Quetzeltenango
Quetzeltenango
Quetzeltenango
Quetzeltenango
Quetzeltenango

P1040462QuetzeltenangoQuetzaltenango

Quetzaltenango
Quetzaltenango

As we left Quetzaltenango, we climbed in elevation to pine trees.

P1040440

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Reached Lake Atitlan – driving through some of the towns small narrow streets are quite challenging!

Solola, Guatemala
Solola, Guatemala
Solola, Guatemala
Solola, Guatemala

We continue until we reach Panajel – and find a beautiful hotel – Posade Don Rodrigo, right on the lake.

Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan - making tortillas at the hotel restaurant
Lake Atitlan – making tortillas at the hotel restaurant
Lake Atitlan hotel
Lake Atitlan hotel
Lake Atitlan - view from our room
Lake Atitlan – view from our room
Lake Atitlan Hotel
Lake Atitlan Hotel – great nap spot
Panajel - hotel grounds
Panajel – hotel grounds

We had fun wandering around town – this is definitely a tourist spot…. we are continually being stopped and asked for money or to buy something.

Panajel
Panajel
Panajel - canoes
Panajel – canoes
Morning on Lake Atitlan - before the clouds form
Morning on Lake Atitlan – before the clouds form
Panajel
Panajel
Panajel
Panajel market

The hotel restaurant is very expensive (caters to international tourists!), so we opted to walk around town to find something to fill our stomachs.  We ended up at a pizza place that was actually pretty good – we sat at a table next to the front of the restaurant.  We realized that maybe we should have chosen a table further back because every person that had something to sell would stop at our table to show us their wares.  When our pizza arrived, a cute little girl came to our table selling some trinkets, so Scott gave her a piece of pizza.  Immediately, another child came up and also got a piece of pizza.  Soon we had a crowd of little children wanting pizza!  The waiter had to plant himself in front of our table to discourage them.

After our meal, we noticed a little dog waiting patiently on the curb – Scott tossed him a piece of bread, which he ate politely in the street.  He followed us all the way back to the hotel.

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Sunset view
Sunset view of Lake Atitlan

January 24, 2013

I have acquired a “bug” that is keeping me running (unfortunately not on the beach kind of running!) … there are a multitude of instances that come to mind where, at the time, I thought, “Is this going to be a problem?”  Hmm…. I guess I should have been a little more careful!  No more limonade for me… Not so much fun.  Scott visited the local pharmacy for me this morning for some pills that should help.  I hope that our ride to Antigua is uneventful!!! (afternote – yes – I made it!  Thank you little pills).

The locals are all dressed up today!
The locals are all dressed up today!
fancy bus
Chicken bus

As we flew along the main highway, we came around a corner to this “parade” for one of the Guatemalan’s festivals.  They were marching in one lane, with a police escort in front. Now we know why everyone is dressed up today!  Keep in mind, this road is essentially the freeway of Guatemala….

Parade along the highway for the Rabinal Festival of San Pablo
Parade along the highway for the Rabinal Festival of San Pablo
Rabinal Festival of San Pablo
Rabinal Festival of San Pablo

P1040540

wood cutter
wood cutter

After several wrong turns, one resulting in the very nice road suddenly turning to a dirt path, and another requiring us to ask a local for directions…. we made it to Antigua!  It is  charming!   The people are very friendly – we stopped two times to get our bearings, and each time a different person approached us, asking if we needed help.  Antigua, GuatemalaAntigua, Guatemala

Part of the charm of Antigua is the narrow cobblestone streets and colonial architecture.   Streetside, entire blocks appear to be just a plain wall with nondescript gates and barred windows, but inside are beautiful shops and courtyards.

Tradiciones Antigua Hotel
Tradiciones Antigua Hotel is where we ended up
fountain at Hotel Tradiciones Antigua
courtyard fountain at Tradiciones Antigua Hotel
Scott, hard at work!
Scott, hard at work in the hotel courtyard!

This hotel is only 4 years old, but is constructed to appear hundreds of years old.  It is so beautiful!

Tradiciones Antigua Hotel
Tradiciones Antigua Hotel
Tradiciones Antigua Hotel
Tradiciones Antigua Hotel
Notice the plants growing on the roof
Streetside view – note the plants growing in the tiled roof

Antigua was originally the capital city of Guatemala, but after several devastating earthquakes, it was moved to Guatemala City.  Most of the ruins were left as they were after the earthquakes that destroyed them.

Antigua's Cathedral
Antigua’s Cathedral from Parque Central

We spent the morning wandering around the Parque Central – a beautiful area in the center of town.  We sat for awhile on a bench and listened to a man playing music…

Music in the Parque
Music in the Parque

Shoe shine boys kept asking to clean my shoes and Mayan women would approach us to sell their jewelry and weavings.  We decided to walk through the Cathedral and ruins….built in 1538, it was destroyed in 1668 by an earthquake. Another cathedral was built next to it, and it was destroyed in 1773 – and then another was built next to it.  Surreal….

P1040577

Cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral ruins
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral
Oldest Cathedral ruins

No modern signage in Antigua….

Dominoes pizza!
Dominoes pizza!
<3
❤ I love this man!
In the cathedral
In the cathedral (and yes, I wear a dress on the motorcycle when we ride around town)
town square
Parque Central fountain
Another ruin
Another ruin
South Agua Volcano
South Agua Volcano

Poor Scott succumbed to the travel bug…. the rest of his afternoon is spent in our room.  I ventured out on my own and had a great time exploring the little shops behind the walls!

January 26, 2013

Got up this morning to a beautiful clear sky and view of the Agua Volcano from the rooftop terrace of the hotel.

Agua Volcano - Antigua
Agua Volcano – Antigua
Antigua - roof top view
Antigua – roof top view
rooftop vew
rooftop view
Both Scott and I still feel under the weather, so we decide to stay another two days. We ventured out into town this Saturday morning where several streets were closed to traffic for pedestrians.  We found some great shops to walk through.  
amigos
amigos
And saw many Mayans selling their wares – old and young.
little Mayan
little Mayan
This father and his four sons were playing music in the street – the littlest one is sitting out of view behind his brothers on the curb.
A father and his 4 sons
A father and his 4 sons
playing turtle shells
playing tortoise shells
Saturday near the town center
Saturday near the town center
Antigua
Antigua
Antigua
Antigua
Necklace for you? Special deal for you
“Necklace for you lady? Special deal just for you today!”
Antigua
Antigua
Antigua
Antigua
boys selling flutes in Antigua
boys selling flutes in Antigua
We took a break in a restaurant to have a soda.  Our table was next to a window, convenient for the locals to stop and show us what they had to sell.  These little girls were very persistent in trying to get Scott to buy their merchandise.  He gave them each a few quetzals (money in Guatemala) because they were so cute.  The one on the right spoke the most English – she kept telling Scott he was cheap because he wouldn’t buy anything.  
10 year olds selling in Antigua
10 year olds selling in Antigua
10 year old
10 year old Mayan
Antigua carriage ride - driver talking on his cell
Antigua carriage ride – driver talking on his cell
Mayans
Mayans
Antigua
Antigua
The Arch
The Arch
Local Mercado
Local Mercado
Walking through the local mercado
Walking through the local mercado

Antigua gets my vote for one of the most romantic cities we have been in!

Very romantic dinner!
Very romantic candlelight dinner in a private courtyard
Taylor Guitars in Antigua
Taylor Guitars in Antigua?!!!
Full moon over Parque Central fountain
Full moon over Parque Central fountain

January 27, 2013

Sunday morning – we watched Pastor Ed from the Packinghouse in Redlands, CA, preach live via webcam.  We were able to watch the entire service, including worship!

We took another walk around town… Sunday is a BUSY day here – so many tourists come from Guatemala City (an hour away).

moto for 4
moto for 4
Church and Volcano - Antigua
Church and Volcano – Antigua
sleepy one
sleepy one

We sat in the square and watched the people – very rich and very poor – all enjoying their day.

Antigua styling
She is stylin!
Little Mayan
Little Mayan
Little Mayan with her mama
Little Mayan with her mama

We took a carriage ride through the area of town we had not explored yet.  Our young drivers did not speak much English, but tried to explain points of interest to us.

Our carriage drivers
Our carriage drivers
Carriage ride through Antigua
Carriage ride through Antigua
sundial in Antigua
sundial in Antigua
Mayan
Mayan

We went to Calvary Chapel of Antigua for their evening service at 5 tonight.  This is a small church, though attendance was high due to two work groups from the US  in town.  A good service done in English and Spanish.

Calvary Chapel Antigua
Calvary Chapel Antigua
Calvary Chapel Antigua
Calvary Chapel Antigua

Tomorrow we are on the road to more adventures!

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17 Responses to Central America

  1. Doug and Karen says:

    this is such a great idea !!!! I will follow you everyday !!! I love this !!!!

  2. Ken & Dottie says:

    LOVE the blog:). K&D

  3. Doug and Karen says:

    buenos noches mis amigos !!!! vaya con DIOS !!!!

  4. Doug and Karen says:

    Espero que ano !!!! I think that means Happy New Year !!! (not positive…. but it’s something good ) !!!! haha love you guys !!

  5. Diona Waldenq says:

    WOW. You guys are so courageous. My butt would be killing me! 🙂 So glad to follow you on this blog. Vic – thanks for the Christmas note. SO good to hear from you. We will keep up with you on your blog. Have fun. Mazatlan looks gorgeous! Things are good with us. Mom and sister (yes, sister) were here for Christmas. Very good time was had by all. Will share more later. My job is great, Jim is good, Gabe is good. Love you guys, Diona.

  6. Doug and Karen says:

    praying for you everyday !! sounds like an amazing trip. You are running a lot !!! can’t wait for some more pictures !!! love you guys …. Doug is going to go and catch us some free lobsters !!! hahahaha

  7. barra says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip!! oxoxoxo

  8. Doug and Karen says:

    love all of the pictures !! keep um coming !!! you guys look great !!! I have been playing quiddler !!!!! haha … I took your advice and bought it for Christmas !!! super fun !!! love you guys :o) Back to school for me tomorrow !!! ahhhhhhh !

  9. Kathy says:

    Loving the daily updates, makes me feeling like I got a little adventure myself. Glad to see two are having such a great time! Love you!!!!

  10. Jill Fraley says:

    Kevin, Jake and I just finished looking at your blog!! Really enjoyed it!!! Looks like you’re having fun!!!

  11. Diona Waldenq says:

    WOW…the photos are terrific. You have warm weather all the way – betcha you aren’t missing Big Bear! 🙂 This blog is so fun….like we are travelling, too…except our butts aren’t as sore as yours! 😛

  12. Diona Walden says:

    Had to correct my name…what’s with the “q”? Duh.

  13. Mary says:

    I’m going through withdrawls – it’s been 3 days! What have you been up to????

  14. Doug and Karen says:

    YEAH !!!!! what she said !!! I miss seeing pictures…. I am living vicariously through you guys !!!

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