Friday, June 29, 2012


Bip Bip hospitalisé en Honduras, j'ai dû prendre le bus pour retrouver ma copine Delphine au Nicaragua et laisser Chrissy en garde-malade...

Finalement on a peine eu le temps de visiter Léon et d'arriver à la plage de Penitas que nous avons vu Bip Bip débarquer avec Chrissy après une semaine d'hospitalisation GRATUITE!!!!!!!!

Nous avions donc 3 semaines à passer au Nicaragua avec un planning au jour le jour que biensûr nous avons suivi seulement dans les grandes lignes...

En tout cas,on a fait une grande boucle et il me semble qu'on a bien couvert le Nicaragua excepté la côte caraïbe... Je pense que çà restera un des pays que nous préférerons de l'Amérique Centrale. On a adoré ce pays aux 1001 volcans avec tous ses lacs, cascades et villes coloniales.

Chris a pu surfer sans s'enfoncer la tête dans le sable... Youpi!

Il ne restera pas inoubliable uniquement pour sa beauté mais aussi pour 1 téléphone et 1 appareil photo cassés, un autre qui a décidé de ne plus être résistant à l'eau ainsi que 2 paires de chaussures et mon livre électronique volés dans Bip Bip alors que nous dormions dedans...

Malgré un nouveau problème mécanique chaque semaine, quand Bip Bip fonctionne, il fonctionne très bien...

BIP BIP HOURA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok well Bippers underwent a quadruple wire bypass and is now roll along.  I was able to hook up with the girls while they were enjoying yet another sundowner on  the beach toasting to freedom.  Whaaat?

We hot-footed it about the country (before another maintenance 'issue' could arise) skipping only the Caribbean (too far for my poor cripple recovering from surgery).  Turns out we liked, nay, PREFERRED Nicaragua to the other CA countries based on scenery and price - oh and the abundance of volcanos which makes it doubly cool.

Oh and to make the highlight real I got to finally surf, for real.  And not surf on my face.  Progress is being made.

Other interesting Nica factoids for Bip Bip Americas:
·          Items busted include – computer keyboard, 2 cameras, 1 cell phone but NOT my face in the surf ahahahahaha !  still, what the hell these breakages??
·          Items stolen include – one pair $2 flip flops, my brand new Columbia sandals (very expensive and NEW thanks to Delphine delivery service) and Fanny’s prized KOBO e-reader. bummer

Seems to be a bad month, irony being that it has been - on expenses - the cheapest country  to date on a per day basis. Weird.

Jours passés
Days in country
nuits dans Bip Bip
nights in Bippers
km parcourus
km made
1036 +
a tank of gas untracked due to NO speedometer so say 300km more ?
pleins d’essence
7 – 290,3L
5 - 223,8L
5 - 260,5L
$ 351
Prix moyen de l’essence
Ave price of Fuel
$ /gal- $4,53
$/lit  - $1,19
€ /L  - € 0,95
$ /gal- $4,75
$/lit  - $1,26
€ /L   - €1,01
$ /gal- $5,11
$/lit  - $1,35
€ /L   - €1,08
Consommation moyenne
Ave fuel economy
17,2L  /100KM
15,5L  /100KM
17,3L  /100KM
Dépense moyenne par jour
Ave expense per day (2pax)
37,69  €
49,26 USD
46,09  €
57,70 USD
32,79 €
40,56 USD

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

pleurs et rires en Honduras

Comme dit la chanson « pleurs et rires », nous avons pleuré et ri en Honduras … Nous avons passé plus de la moitié de notre séjour dans un garage à Tegucigalpa, coincés, à attendre, inquiets que Bip Bip se fasse réparer … le propriétaire Roberto a accepté que nous restions dans le garage la nuit pour que nous puissions dormir dans Bip Bip. Ce qui nous a tout de même permis d’éviter des dépenses d’hôtel !!!! Il nous a même évité des dépenses de frais de garage puisque nous sommes partis sans dépenser un copeck (nous qui avions peur de nous faire arnaquer …) !!!! Il faut dire qu’il n’a rien vraiment réparé mais il s’est démené pour trouver la panne et a fait appel à ses confrères.  

J’ai dû laisser Chrissy finir seul le séjour garagien afin de retrouver ma copine Delphine qui nous a rejoint pour 3 semaines au Nicaragua en prenant le bus, sans savoir quand et comment Chris aller nous retrouver…
L‘Honduras n’a pas seulement été un séjour au garage mais aussi de bien meilleurs moments : la visite des ruines de Copan, le lac de Yojoa et les 3 jours passés au D&D brewery , et la chasse des quetzals au Parc National de la Tigra (sans succès)

En tout cas, les gens ont été vraiment gentils et chaleureux entre les différents garagistes, la famille de Roberto qui a fait une visite guidée à Chris du centre-ville de Tegucigalpa et  la réceptionniste du parc national qui nous a embrassé chaleureusement quand nous sommes partis (peu de chance que çà arrive au château de Versailles…). Tout le monde nous a aidé de son mieux et a utilisé ses connaissances (ceci mériterait bien un schéma de nos amis Kath et Andrew) c’est ainsi que Jose-Mario du Salvador nous a donné le contact d’une amie en Honduras qui nous a donné le contact de son garagiste qui nous a envoyé chez un confrère …

Comme j‘ai mis du temps à écrire et à publier ce post avec mon clavier qui a une touche sur deux qui ne fonctionne pas … je vous ai mis une photo bonus, à vous d’être vigilant (attention çà va vite!) 

Like the song on the video says… blablabla its some sort  song about I laughed I cried, i dunno… well I guess we had a few moments like these in Honduras.  We tippytoed Bippers to a garage in Tegucigalpa with a wounded transmission.  We waited with no little bit off worry as this could possibly be a trip-ending event for us.  However Roberto took good care of us, while we camped in the rain in his collection of rusting half-finished collection of car-corpses leaving us just a little bit MORE worried.  Still while he poked here and proded there and cut another, ANOTHER, wire we were living fast and hotel-expense-free but wondering what we were buying in the end.  When it was all said and done and we drove away, he waved us on and didn’t charge us a penny for the 7 days diagnostic  and repair OR even the camping !  Nice guy.  Well he didn’t do too much – did a cardiac bipass and transplant of 4 wires within the transmission wiring harness (not a little feat to be sure) and jiggled this and banged on that.  He sent us on the road thinking that the computer managing the transmission was pooched but we could still drive ‘manual’.  Some 50 km down the road I realized that the transmission was acting all normal and stuff.  BINGO and double BINGO for a free fix.

Now we wonder why the car needs a special screwdriver treatment in the mornings before we head off to start the motor.  The key works the rest of the day but just not in the mornings… ???  Every day greets us with a new drama to live through.

Meanwhile Fanny left me in the pickle (Teguc is NOT one of the more wonderful capital cities…) and high and rain drenched while she split to collect her friend Delphine who planned to join us for 3 weeks of our Nicaragua tour.  Fanny grabbed the first (delux bus i must point out) to freedom and friendship with not one worry about whether I would ever follow her with Bippers.

Honduras wazznt just a visit around Teguc garages.  Oh no.  We did get to visit the rainy Copan ; the rainy Lago de Yojoa (where at least D&D  brewery had camping AND beer on tap) and then of course we also got to see the rainy National Park La Tigra.  Did I mention it was rainy in Honduras ?  Even the Quetsals thought it too rainy to go show off to the stupid, wet tourists. Why spoil the fab elvis-like doo for nothing, they said ?

Well in the end the folks are super nice (yes even the cops that stopped us never asked about the triangle and were too busy falling overthemselves to give directions rather than to dance the ‘dinero-dance’).  While steaming-rusting chez Roberto, his sister and crew swung by to pick up Chris and the Granny for a sight-seeing tour of the center of Tegucigalpa (didn’t take long, and that doesn’t need to be pointed out).  Oh yea and the lonely clerk running the Park La Tigra welcomed us with open arms and then sent us away with a kiss on the cheek (and a tear in her eye, there they go … I’ll never have any more friends for the rest of my life….).  We had connections who connected with connections that got us just exactly we needed (but we did NOT need 40 pounds of Cinnibon bun !)  Jose Mario –of El Salvador – connected us with a Honduran who had a friend who happened to have another friend who just happened to be an auto transmission specialist.  Them’s good apples there.

In a serious moment however,  despite the gunshots around us, the folks here were more than warm and helpful.  That is the way it is no ?  Those with nothing have so much more to give.  Life lesson.

Been a long time coming.  We also suffer computer keyboard probs. If it is NOT one thing it is ANOTHER… see what I mean?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

That's a CAPITAL idea

Without much discussion it was an agreement to avoid the Capital cities.  There is nothing really of value to us to visit there and they are without question the hot-spots of many of these countries; drug wars and poverty and population just make for a bad mix.  So no going into Capital cities.

Yea riiiiight.

It all started by our overnighting it in Watts followed by an early morning cruise through Times Square NYC.  Just why???  Then our trusty Felix (our GPS) decided that the one and ONLY route through Mexico City was right through the friggin middle – with NO regard to whether our plates made us legal or not.  We scraped through that one but not without the stereotypical traffic adventures.

Belmopan known as the smallest Capital out there stuck in the nowheresville Belize was no biggie but that started the hunt for the elusive missing piece for Bippers.  That hunt for rare treasures continued into Guatemala City and again in San Salvador and  once AGAIN in Tegucigalpa (where by the way the gunshots are a nightly light and sound show -when it is not raining).

We have had a few good adventures along the way and so far have avoided the rape  and pillage of Bip Bip.  Guatemala city was fun with the Mojica family who took care of us.  Later in San Salvador we had the fun of hanging with Jon and Rachel and drinking not a little bit of rum.

Tegucigalpa is the latest pearl in the string of adventures.  One week here sussing out the transmission problems we suffered while high up the mountain in La Tigra National Park. 

A couple of days at the Teguc Mitsu dealership lead to null (well i did get my 4x4 solenoid replaced) which lead to a discussion with our Jose Mario of El Salvador fame who contacted his Honduran friend who contacted her Honduran friend who ownes a garage who contacted his friend who has a transmission shop that lead us to Roberto.  I feel like we are 4 degrees of separation here!  Roberto has been diligently working on our issues and is a really great guy.  Meanwhile Bippers and Chris sleep in the shop yard with the rest of the carcasses.  Fanny took the red-carpet exit and took a delux bus to Managua to meet up with her friend. 

As with all best-laid plans we eagerly waited the arrival of Delphine from France.  And not one week before her arrival for a guided tour of Nicaragua - after a lengthy negotiation on how and where and when you can be assured - Bip Bip decides to pack it in with a strange puff of smoke from under the dash panel.  We have been carrying a fire extinguisher but mostly for the Honduran COPPERS but I almost broke it out all over Bippers face; lucky right? Fanny took off and if we ever get Bippers back on 4 wheels I will follow and try to catch up.  I am a bit down as I keep hoping to spend some time on the surf and always something comes up.  This is becoming too much like hard work.

Anyway it turns out it is not the transmission, I would have preferred that it was however we burned up a bit of the wiring harness leading from the transmission to the transmission TCU and ultimately roasted the transmission TCU itself.  So Roberto got the wiring sorted out (we dearly hope) and the TCU is a simple plug and play device if ONLY i can get my hands on one… and for the meantime I must now treat our automatic transmission as a manual.  That is an easy compromise as the only other option involves matches and gas jugs and bus tickets.

Oh yea and it is raining here.  When it rains it floods. Time to reassess this friggin  adventure.