TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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Day 333 – 6th November 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on November 6, 2009

Friday – Granada, Nicaragua

The Honduran police are corrupt, scumbags, in fact the country is not worth pissing on!!!

It was on the road this morning, but I needed to adjust my chain. Vincent had been hearing noises from his chain and he mentioned he had adjusted it a few times by now, his chain is shot I reckon. I had been hearing a few clunks when I start off, so I did a half turn adjustment to take up a bit of slack. There is not much else that can be done until maybe Columbia, I will have to do some research on a chain and sprocket kit. This chain was put on in Edmonton, Canada but I replaced the front sprocket due to excessive wear in San Diego. It has only done about 18,000 miles, so it should have quite a few left 🙂

After breakfast I packed up and headed out around 9.30am after saying hooray to Vincent, he is always a late starter 🙂 It was only a short run of about 40 minutes to the border with only the one checkpoint before the border itself, I was waved through the first one.

But, the police arseholes at the second one waved me over and gave me the 3rd degree.

In a way it is my fault I guess because I believed a copper in the US. Let me backtrack to the beginning.

In America the paperwork involved for bike ownership is totally different. In Oz, all you need is the bike and the rego sticker and if you still have it, the rego papers, no big deal, because the bike is registered in your name when it is transferred and that is a done deal. But, in the states, you have a normal road rego paperwork, and a TITLE or a piece of paperwork that says this bike is yours.

Now, Tom was the chap I bought the bike from, at the time he advised that as I did not have a US drivers licence, I would be unable to register the bike in my name, so it was left in his. The original TITLE that I had, had his name and address on it, but the insurance was in my name. It seemed difficult at the time and I left it at that. But, once I got close to leaving the states, I went ahead and attempted to register the bike in my name, because there may be difficulties at border crossings with the wrong name on it. The registration and ownership change was easy (but expensive with sales tax included) and I am sorry I never tried it earlier for the following reason.

The interim paperwork I was given is the official registration change of ownership and is fine as I need that, BUT, the TITLE paperwork would take 3 weeks!!! This meant I entered Mexico and was there for two weeks before Craig emailed me a scanned copy of the document. I also made arrangements over the next little while to secure a forwarding address for the original, which ended up being in Panama, a few countries down the road.

In Mexico City, I tried to print out this scan but for some reason my USB key did not work in the Mexican computers and at the time, I did not think of another way to do it, so I once again put it off, it was in the too hard basket!

So, all this has lead to today’s issue. Even after the problem with entering Honduras where they eventually let me through, I still did NOT get a copy printed out. I am now chatting with four police who wanted to see my title document, when I said I do not have it, the dollar signs in the eyes went CHINK and you could see the numbers in their heads rolling around. If you read the WIKI scam stuff I posted the other day (in a reply to a comment, go here and at the bottom click on comments and have a read), I was basically given the traditional scam, I am in the wrong, he will give me a ticket for $150, I go pay that at the town I just left then come back and he will let me through, but if I did not want to do that, I could slip them $40 and be on my way.

Well, I bullshitted, but in the end, I knew I was at fault (even if there is no proof that I need this paperwork in this country, they are corrupt and make it up as they go along, they have the guns) and as my argument had no leg to stand on, I reluctantly paid the fuckers!!! 😦 If I had the paperwork, I would have stood my ground and got through, but today, that would have meant more delays and although I told them I would go to a different border crossing, they held up a mobile phone and said they would call ahead. I hated paying, but I was just glad to get out of this scumbag thieving country!!!

Another little side not here, just for fun. In all my travels around the states and Canada and every country I have entered since, I have had to get off my bike and take a leak at some stage on the side of the road somewhere, well my signature on a forum does say “The world is my toilet” 🙂 Now, the funny thing is, although I stayed here two nights, the distance travelled through was not long enough for my bladder to be full, so in actual fact without a lie, I can honestly say, this country is “Not Worth Pissing On”.

Back to real life and once I was let through I got to customs and had my exit paperwork sorted and passport stamp cancelled.

Then it was on to Nicaragua, hopefully this would be a bit easier.

And it was, the customs people were helpful, an insurance guy helped with all my paperwork, because here you pay $7 for an entry stamp, then mandatory $12 for bike insurance for 30 days. He was helpful, but I had my notes and just handed over what the lady asked for, when she said Title I just handed her the rego paperwork and it was accepted no worries. So, this border crossing took about 20 minutes and I was soon outside and ready to roll and found Vincent had caught me up a bit, well I had been stuck for half an hour the other side:)

Now I had to negotiate the potholes and swimming pools to get into Nicaragua and have come to realise, this road condition is normal for the border crossings.

Basically, they cannot agree on who pays for the upkeep of this “no man’s land”, so nothing gets done! With another border crossing negotiated, I headed into the country and was immediately on the lookout for bloody cows, either on the road or in taxis!!!

Logging truck, Nicaragua style 8)

I kept going through a few towns, even though I was a bit hungry by now, as I wanted to make some distance. Fuel was getting to about halfway when I spotted a nice servo that had a great cafe on the outskirts of Leon 🙂

After exchanging some cash and having lunch I was looking at my map and directions. Willi the German chap had mentioned a specific route to avoid a crap road and I was checking my instructions. An American missionary type person named Bany showed me the way on the map, it seemed a bit different, but he said it is best to go this way and gave me directions up the road. Specifically at a major turn off, go straight ahead and avoid Managua, the capital city. So, off I go and sure enough I eventually stopped at the intersection, not by choice though, police checkpoint, pull over sunshine 😦 😦

These two chaps were asking for something, I had no idea what, but eventually after handing them the paperwork from the border crossing, the word they were using, Seguro, turned out to mean Insurance and they were just checking. So, it was all fine after that and they happily posed for a photo. They advised me NOT to go straight ahead, they said the road was crap and I should follow the new road like everyone else. So I did, this meant I followed Willi’s advice and not some missionary and still cannot believe he would do that, maybe he was intending that I “be saved” at some point along that road, but his intentions seemed to be good at the time. So I continued on, hoping I would not be stopped again, but I am getting used to it by now, but the issue of the dammed title will need to be resolved soon! There was a bit of roadwork, which was good because it allowed me to filter to the front of a long line of trucks and wagons, and past a lake shore near Masaya.

Check this out, a common site in Central America, even Mexico, I have seen this type of thing a lot, the only difference here is that there are two lanes each way, imagine this with just one lane each way.

When the car/truck/bus breaks down or gets a flat, they just stop and do repairs in the middle of the road, this one had a broken axle and the whole left side was collapsed, he would be there for a while I reckon. Riding down here is going to lead to issues when I am back home in Australia, basically they have no rules or laws here that anyone pays any attention to, (except bloody paperwork of course, but let’s not go there). This means you just ride at whatever speed you like, I spend a lot of time riding on the left hand side of the road because I am passing everyone, double centre lines are not an issue, ignore them. “No Passing” signs are pretty in colour, but that is all, no one looks or pays any attention to them, the only time I have not passed, even on corners, is when my view is blocked a bit more than usual. If you pass someone and a car comes the other way, they usually move over for bikes 🙂 I can see my QLD drivers licence lasting all of 5 minutes on my return 😉

After a bit more riding I navigated through the city of Managua, after a few wrong turns, I eventually found the main road out and just before entering Granada, had my usual bladder moment 🙂 I prefer to arrive in a new town with no burning issues so to speak, that way I do not make a hasty decision on where to stay. As it was I managed to ride around the one way streets until I asked some people for the address of the hotel Willi had told me about. I was actually on that street, but could not find it and I was in a one way street system. A kid on a pushie told me to follow him and I did and eventually found, parked and booked into the “Neustre Casa” or “Our Home” and run by a chap called Jimmy 3 Fingers.

The rooms were cheap, but had AC and internet, a bar, a restaraunt, what more could you ask for 🙂 Here is how the hot water is done down below the US, it is a shower head plugged into the mains and it has a heating element in it which fires up when water pressure is going through it, different but it does work. The power cables on this unit is actually well done, I have seen some dodgy wiring in my travels!

So, after booking in, having a shower and updating some stuff on the net, it was off to the bar where I tried some local brewed beer. This was the first type and it was quite good 🙂 I am happy with the style of beers below the US, because it is usually easy to find a lager type with carbonation, that is, it has bubbles and can form a head 🙂

Vincent rolled in about an hour or so later and was lucky to get a room, it was just getting dark by then. Jimmy is the cook, he reckons that is the only way to be, that way someone else gets to do the washing up! 🙂 Grilled chicken and baby back ribs with potato salad, I decided not to have the other green salad, I am not a rabbit, it was very nice indeed.

After dinner it was to the bar where the big screen projector was happening and a few more beers, but I soon started on the rum, it is all cheap, about $1 for a beer, $1 for a nip of rum 🙂 :). I had decided as the rush was over, I will stay here at least two nights and may try and get a fishing charter on the lake. The lake here is supposed to have the only fresh water shark in the world, so that could be fun. But, Jimmy told me they are hard to find let alone catch and that the last one was caught/seen around 7 years ago. He advised me to go to the coast of Costa Rica and do an offshore charter there, so I will do that instead. I still intended staying for a few day’s though as I had received a confirmation from Sylvia, I was booked on the Golden Eagle on the 19th and had to be there by the 17th. I had heaps of time and could slow down and relax 🙂 The bikes are parked in the street here, but there is a 24 hour a day security guard always keeping an eye out front. Jimmy has four HOGS and they always live out front, he is an expatriate American and seems a nice guy, that is him on the right 🙂

During the evening, I noticed some other tourists come in so I went and had a chat for a while, this is Matthew and Geraldine, here on their honeymoon, nice meeting you 🙂

The night was fun, I had a lot to drink, but I was safe here with my bed only a few steps away, but there was no point trying to sleep until closing because the music was LOUD!!! Closing was at 2am and I was glad to turn in by then, tomorrow is another day, Jimmy was going to help with my Title and help with motorcycle oil but probably in Costa Rica, not here. He has a buddy that runs a place on the coast, he may be able to order some in for me.


Day – 192 miles and 309 km
Trip – 42,525 miles and 68,437 km

Salud
TravellingStrom

WORLD

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14 Responses to “Day 333 – 6th November 09”

  1. Beastie said

    Haven’t been keeping up on yer travels, sorry for that. Looks like you be doing just fine. Funny thing, I actually have some of that Tona beer in my frig right now. it’s pretty good stuff. now i know where it comes from. happy trails for now.

  2. Donunder said

    Whew!! What a trial Rich!
    Good that you’re out of Honduras and into somewhere more friendly. It’s nice you have some time up your sleeve to allow you to relax recharge and revitalize for a few days. Are you planning on riding back through Honduras etc? Will the return be any easier seeing the paperwork has been done once? It would be good if you could flog the bike in Ushuaia and fly home from there. Up to Buenos Aires and direct to Sydney. Two hours later we could be at the Brekky Creek hitting one huge steak… and probably a XXXX too! Keep well mate.

    • Hi Don, yes it sounds tempting, but unfortunately if I sell the bike away from the USA, I get lumbered with all the export, import, luxury taxes etc etc .

      At this stage there is no way I can get back up to Honduras at all, before my time/money runs out.

      I have a feeling I will only just get to the bottom of this continent and maybe back up to Buenos Aires before having to fly the bike to LA or somewhere like that so I can clean it up and sell it.

      That is still way in the future, and now that the Rumble to Barossa has been postponed, it means a bit more time for me (read you and Graham) to prep my bike for the ride across the nullabor to Albany 🙂

      As much as I would love a steak and some piss, not xxxx but real beer, at the brekky, it will have to wait until at least the end of Feb.

      Cheers TS

  3. Gary said

    Your road rules remind me of India, where you have to pass everyone everywhere, overtaking 6 at a time on blind corners just to stay safe from the others. It did not seem at all dangerous at the time. Let me know if you are on for the Brekky Creek as i am in Brisbane also.

    • M8, the brekky creek is on the menu when I return, just ask Donunder and Saab, beer and great tucker, maybe some chicas 🙂

      As for the India traffic, not been there yet but I have heard and read horror stories, maybe I need to read your ride reports or blog, do you have one ?

      Cheers TS

  4. ybg said

    Rich,

    Paying out graft should be considered a rip-off, but merely a road toll. Not much different then dropping 160 quarters in a slot at some booth.

    Haven’t seen you vent like that before. Just consider Honduras the border between Guatemala and El Salvador, then it shouldn’t hurt so much.

    I hope El Salvador runs better for you.

    ybg

  5. Muddy said

    Shower wiring, isn’t the third wire the ground? the wire not connected in the pic.

    • You are correct, the ground wire is hardly ever used down here though. In fact a lot of the power outlets have TWO holes only and makes it impossible to use a normal 3 pin plug. I had to acquire another adaptor that negates the earth pin for these places.

      Cheers TS

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