A page for the ramblings of Zack Sherman, the lead wanderer at Expedition recovery. This blog will include my travelog as well as more concise and targeted written pieces. Reviews and how to's on topics of adventure motorcycle and overland travel will be forthcoming as well.
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So tools under the seat might not be the best place
was good but fitful as one of the women in the sleeping room kept on her phone
for most of the night, seeming not to sleep or to care about the rest of us in
should have gotten up and got on the road quickly but instead was slow to get
moving. I talked with Montserrat for a little bit and got caught up on my
on-line work from my bunk. I dressed slowly and got all of my things packed
before walking down for the included breakfast. It was an unglamorous affair of
poorly cooked eggs with thin slices of hot dog mixed in, fried beans, and a
slice of white toast with butter. I wolfed it down quickly while answering
questions about the trip.
loading of the bike went simply enough, except that I forgot to fix the
windshield mounting before I had already fully loaded the bike, thus blocking
the tools I needed from access as they were below the seat.
got google maps programmed and talked to Cat for a moment before leaving the Wi-Fi
and heading out. I rode about 50 kilometers to a Pemex to see if I could borrow
the metric hex wrench I needed. The attendant excitedly said he did and led me
over by the office. He was excited to see my Alaska license plate and talked
with me about fishing and about hunting in our broken Spanglish. The hex keys
he brought were imperial and none were close enough to make work. It meant
pulling all my bags from the bike to access my tools under the seat. The repair
was quick and then I got the bike reloaded. The attendant was excited to get an
"Alaska money dollar", and though it was way more money than the lack
of actual help he gave, I happily handed him a US dollar. He was disappointed
and asked me for an "Alaska dollar" instead. I explained to him that
we use US dollars and he seemed slightly defeated, but not so much so that when
his mate asked to see the dollar he refused to hand it over.
rode on with a stop at an Oxxo for Yakult, a liquid yogurt, and some caffeine.
I rode on without issue until I noticed I had failed to align one of the windshield’s
well nuts with its mounting tab and was thus riding with only three of the four
mount points actually secured to the bike. I wagered it would be fine till I
stopped somewhere to borrow tools so I didn't have to disassemble the bike
was a mediocre hamburger at a Pemex with a Mexican energy drink and some
cookies I probably didn't need. While there, one of the trucks of adolescents
who had been running beside the road with torches was parked next to the bike.
They all swarmed the bike after I went in and I had to go back out to grab my
GoPro from the fender and my tank bag when I realized they were looking to me
to see if I was watching and screening my view of the front of the bike with a
unified wall of boys. After I retrieved the easy to steal bits they continued
to swarm the bike and I had to spend my time watching them like a hawk or risk
losing some of my gear to sticky fingers. Once they left I was able to relax a
bit and eat and start my days writing.
rode till nearly 4:30 when the phone mount had manage to loosen enough to be
moved by the wind, and upon slowing it would fall back forward and was now
fouling my steering against the windshield bracket preventing me from turning the
bars to the right. Add this to the loose windshield and I knew that I had to
stop or risk more trouble.
front of an Oxxo I drank a Monster and stripped the bags from the bike again to
get to my tools. I got the mount off, on in a new position I realized wouldn't
work, off again and finally back on in a good place. I attempted to use some red rescue tape to build up the bars to keep the mount from spinning. It worked for all of about 15 seconds. Apparently not a good use of rescue tape. With the tools exposed I
also used some electrical tape to build back up the well nut enough to tighten
down the last mount point on the windshield. In all I was stopped for a full
of the delay was due to being distracted by Wilbur, one of the urchins who
worked the slow down area for the truck inspection point. He carried an arm
load of USB cords for phones and other accessories and smelled heavily
of beer. He tripped my internal alarm for a second time that day. He was just a
little to attentive to when and where I was looking and where all my gear was.
I had to slow down my work under his repeated returns to question me and
eyeball my GoPro and the pile of gear and bags behind the bike. He finally
scampered off after a third visit attempt with friends when a few Mexican
soldiers arrives at the Oxxo for sodas and were interested in the bike. The
uniformed presence and my vigilance finally paid off as I got the last of my
gear put back on the bike and had a snack out of my bag.
was now pushing 5:30 and the sun was getting low behind me as I set off. A few
hours later I was riding after dark for a second time in as many days. I knew
all the advice I had been given said this was a terrible plan. I checked one
hotel but was not real impressed with the parking security and the 320 peso
cost. Plus I saw that I was still more than 900 kilometers from Cancun. I used
the GPS to see that there were hotels just 50 kilometers up the road and since
it was 7:30 I figured it wouldn't be an issue. Riding on I began passing hotels
and auto motels and decided I was still fresh enough to push on the 100
kilometers it said was the next batch of hotels.
gamble was certainly that, as the crazy drivers seemed to be growing in numbers
by the minute. In just about 140 kilometers I had two really near misses. I had
one semi make a pass in a blind corner coming straight at me in my lane. I was
lucky to have enough shoulder on the road and sufficient grip in the tires to
adjust course is and avoid an abrupt end to my journey. Just a little later I
had a truck cross through a gap in the median to make a U turn without much
safety room. It wouldn't have been a big deal except that he and I both saw the
teenager wearing all black clothes and riding against the flow of traffic on
the right shoulder at right about the same time. We both mashed the breaks and
he narrowly avoided the kid while I was just able to swerve to the left to
avoid his truck in the roadway. I was glad to have been looking ahead and
anticipating or I would not have been able to slow and swerve in time. If I had
been in a car there would have been an accident.
of the days fun also included reaffirming my choice to wear full motocross
boots for the ride. While moving passed a line of stopped trucks by use of the
dirt shoulder, I had a three or four inch diameter stone get thrown free by the
front wheel and hit just above my ankle on my left leg. I let loose a torrent
of foul language in my helmet and fought to keep the bike up in the loose dirt
and rock shoulder with my left leg throbbing and ripped backward off the foot
peg. It hurt like hell, but could have broken my lower leg if they had been in hiking
boots rather than the heavily armored Sidi motocross boots I have been riding
in for almost ten years.
calls aside, it was a smooth and beautiful trip, even at night. I made it to
Ciudad Del Carmen and then spent the next 45 minutes going to all the large
hotels with Secure parking to check prices. At my last of five stops the price
was still higher than my first stop had offered me and I told the clerk that
and began to gear up. She smiled, held up one finger and began to write down a
number on a slip of paper. It was 590 pesos and beat their closest competitor
by 160 pesos. I smiled, nodded back, and handed over my credit card.
room was on the fifth floor so I unloaded all my bags from the bike and left it
in the drop off area to run my bags up. I saw my dirt and sweat streaked face in
the elevator mirror and thought it deserved a photo so I snapped a few with my
phone. The room was small but well laid out and I dropped my bags and took off
my riding jacket and armor before heading back down to park and secure the
I was settled into the room I realized I needed to eat. I had seen a few
restaurants nearby and chose to not even change out of my riding pants or boots
before walking down. The nearest one was another of the same Portuguese
buffets that Montserrat and I had eaten at in Leon. I went in and asked the
cost for one. At 320 pesos I had to say no, plus without company what fun would
such a place be. I walked down to the next spot, which was, of all things, an
Irish-pub chain restaurant blaring Metallica over the speakers for all to hear.
spanglished my way into knowing I could sit anywhere and ordered a water as I
looked over the menu. When the waiter came back I asked about the burger
special of the day and he told me that it was the printed price, but that the
regular burgers were "double". I figured I was hungry enough for a
double cheeseburger from a chain joint so I said sure and also ordered 8 wings
since they were on sale. The food arrived bagged to go and off I went.
And there were two of them!
at the hotel I unpacked the food and realized the error of my communication. I
hadn't gotten a double cheeseburger, I had gotten two of the largest burgers I
had ever seen! On the bright side the wings were almost inedible, so I didn't.
Plus the whole meal was only $160 pesos including tip, or about $7.75 US at the
ate and talked on-line while I worked on getting a video edited and uploaded to
YouTube. Sleep was slow in coming as I was fairly over caffeinated but when it did
I crashed hard.
12/16/16 San Ignacio, Belize. 106.6 kilometers ridden. Woke up and got in a quick bit of relaxing before
it was time to start getting ready to ride. Ed, Aaron, and I would be heading
out to Big Rock Falls and 1000 Foot Falls on the bikes. I got most of the prep
done and found out that Aaron had already eaten breakfast so I walked around to
the bar and restaurant combo we had been drinking at the night before. I got an
omelet with bacon, cheese and veggies and a side of "toast bread".
The toast bread was more like fry bread and was very good. I went back to the hotel and Ed had arrived. We
finished prepping the bikes but Ed and Aaron then want to go for a few things
so we ended up at a smoothie shop where the guys grabbed wraps and I had a
smoothie. Service took the usual forever I have come to expect in Belize but
the smoothie was good. We went and geared up before setting off from the hotel
Tropicool. The ride out was spectacular and full of both
twisty canyon type passes o…
12/17/16 San Ignacio, Bel. 108.5 kilometers ridden. Morning started off with a trip up the street for the cheap breakfast Christine had told me
about, it was a breakfast burrito and a large lime juice for the equivalent of about $2.50 US. The burrito was basic but tasty and the lime juice was a refreshing start to the day. After the beating the rough road gave the little C90, I went on a walkabout with Ed and Aaron to go get
the exhaust on Ninty fixed. It took most of the morning but we ended up getting some clues and finding a
Canadian welder who had emigrated to Belize. He did a great job TIG welding the exhaust and it came out looking better than new.
We managed to get a little twisted up on the route before walking across the low wooden bridge that had carried us into town. Along the way we wandered through a market with
lots of hand crafts and cheap Chinese products. I could tell I was in a more tourist oriented town than most I had stayed in so far. I wasn't interested in an…
12/18/16 San Ignacio, Belize to
Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala. 19.6 kilometers ridden. I started out slowly
getting ready before taking a final shower in the small bathroom by my room.
The ability to get the water temperature to something other than arctic blast
or surface of the sun seems to be getting worse each day. We went out for
breakfast at a place called pops. It was the most western place I had been too
in weeks. It had vinyl diner booths in a deep red color that would be at home in any greasy spoon in the US. I ate a bacon and cheese omelet with pancakes but paid more for it
than I would have at a less Americanized place. We went back to our
hotel and Aaron, Ed, and I sat around exchanging digital files of our photos
and videos so we each had copies of everyone’s media from Belize. It took a
long time so as each of us finished we set off separately to be ready to leave.
I was the last one out at past 12:30 but when I got up to Ed's hostel he and
Aaron were both still there. W…