RAIN, RAIN, IT’S O.K.

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Mucho lluvia – lots of rain.

But not that much and not when we are out.

Many people have commented that we need water wings or scuba gear for this trip. While it is entirely true that we have commented about the rain, it is not a continuous thing. It just seems like the adventures have been happening around it.

A quick recap:

  • USA – ten minutes of rain while we are at a gas station.
  • Mexico – 2 minutes while at a market and a great thunderstorm, while in the comfort of a room with a great view.
  • Guatemala – maybe an hour, can’t remember where.
  • El Salvador – rained just as we got our hotel sorted in La Libertad. Rained hard the next morning all the way to the Honduras border.
  • Honduras – rained at the border then cleared up.
  • Nicaragua – Rained as we came into Leon.
  • Costa Rica – rained at the border, then again as we entered La Fortuna. Rained big-time from San Jose to just before the Panama Border.
  • Panama – rained a bit at David.

So looking back we actually only got good and wet a couple of times. The side benefit is that it is usually very light and usually still a hundred degrees outside. We probably could have stayed dry in most places by choosing to get a hotel a bit earlier or lunch a bit later.

In ten thousand kilometers it is amazing that we have only really been caught in one big storm – in Costa Rica while climbing out of San Jose, heading over the mountains and toward the ocean. (Incidentally, this is where we saw a perfectly good jetliner parked beside a river in the jungle. No idea how it got there or why!) The flooding in Nicaragua was caused upstream from where we were, so we got wet from the bottom up on that one.

The rain that I encounter during my commute from Calgary to Red Deer every week is a lot more unpleasant!

We are still laughing.  We knew this was the rainy season and it has actually been far less unpleasant than we were prepared for.  The Ural continues to allow us an opportunity to experience our world through the smells, the sights and the smiles of the locals.

Oh, I have stopped chastising Tracey for bringing her hair dryer – I have been using it to dry my boots out!

Adios for now.

Miles

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SPEAKING OF LESSONS LEARNED…

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Tracey’s last post ended at – lessons learned.

So, what have we learned?

Lesson One: The best way to improve our Ural’s braking ability is to leave a wet towel hanging off the back to dry, allowing it to drop into the driveshaft while zipping along. Stops the bike much more quickly than the brakes. There is a side benefit as well – a nicely polished driveshaft.

Lesson Two: The world is full of information, sometimes accurate and sometimes not. Honduras is a country we were warned about by every fellow traveler- military shakedowns for money, corrupt police, and unfriendly people. Nobody seemed to have a good story to tell. Well, some lessons you just need to learn for yourself.

We were leaving town one morning when two motorcycle police pulled in behind us. They began to follow us and eventually slowly passed us on the right, continuing down the road. My spidey senses started to tingle. I made a quick detour for unnecessary fuel… eventually, we pulled back onto the road and continued…about two kilometers down the road on a blind bend with jungle on both sides, a motorcycle was parked across our lane and two policemen lay in wait for us…one of them motioned us to stop and we thought the gig was up…slowly he looked around and approached us…. he extended his hand to mine and said “Welcome to Honduras! We just saw you back there and wanted to tell you to have a safe trip and enjoy our country” Then he went around to shake Tracey’s’ hand and we were off. This same scene was repeated less than an hour later with the same results. Honduras treated us well.

Lesson Three: When the rains come – make tracks. As the tropical storms battered the countries in different ways we learned to keep going. Other travelers chose to wait. Waiting allowed the water to build up – with bad results. We drove over many landslides, including one while it was happening. Being stuck on the wrong side, when there is only one road leads to…. being stuck. By shifting our routes and plans to take advantage of good spots of weather, we were able to be rained upon but always continue. As we learned later, other travellers were stuck for as much as 5 days in various places due to ‘waiting it out’. Waiting it out means waiting until December.

Our biggest ongoing lesson is still ‘people are people’. Guarav Jani, the Indian film maker, said to us one time “Reach out with your hand, put it on the other person’s chest and feel their heart – it is the same beat as yours.  That person is not a newspaper or a government. That person is the same as you.”

We are reminded of the power of his statement every day, it is a message we will always carry.

Miles

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