Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

Feb 11, 2003.-- Honduras, our 47th country, after 86,000 miles

Credit to Honduras and seeing old friends

-- Story by Erin --

Tues, Feb. 4th: As we were preparing to leave Estelli and head for the border of Honduras, we met a very interesting American couple, Tim and Cindie Travis, from Phoenix who are more than a year into their round the world bicycle trip --  We had seen them arrive the night before, completely knackered, and in the morning they were refreshed and happy to chat for awhile. We ended up leaving at 11am instead of 9am like we had planned. They have a website , which you may find interesting.

When we arrived at the border we had prepared ourselves for quite a long and complicated crossing. All of the travellers we met heading south told us that Honduras was the most difficult and expensive crossing in Central America. The formalities on the Nicaraguan side were fast and easy. We paid $2 per person for the privilege to leave. While Chris ran around doing the paperwork, I stood guard by the bikes. It was busy with tourist buses, cargo trucks and yup, 17 RV’s (motorhomes from the states on a one month tour) waiting to cross into Nicaragua. It was quite the scene to watch. Then we completed everything around 12:00 pm all of the offices were closed for an hour for lunch. So, we did what everyone here does, grab a bite to eat from a small comedor and wait. Almost immediately after we sat down to order, Chris hears someone speaking Hungarian. It turns out to be a very nice young couple from Hungary who are currently working in Costa Rica managing an Eco-lodge in the rainforest. Akos is a biologist and Rita is an accountant, which I suppose makes for a good combination to manage one of these resorts.  Their website is   Anyway, it made for very interesting lunch conversation, half in English and half in Hungarian.

After lunch we went immediately to the Honduran side to start the paper process. Again, I watched the bikes while Chris did the running around. There were lots of moneychangers wandering around with nothing to do. At one point one of them, a tall man wearing a Crocodile Dundee style hat came over to me to demonstrate his comedy act. He would sing a song and then mid-way through stop, tilt his head forward and shake his head, thus making his full set of dentures rattle in his mouth. This brought down the house, so to speak, with all the other moneychangers looking on. It was good for a laugh until the act grew a bit old the third time around.

What we expected to last all afternoon actually only took 2 hours and $76 for the both of us ($36/bike; $2pp immigration), and we were on our way. The roads in this area wind through beautiful pine covered hills and through little villages. It was an enjoyable ride all the way to the capital of Tegucigalpa, where we were meeting with our friends Susan and Darrel.

The last time we saw these two was two and a half years ago in Cambodia. Back then, they had no children. Now, they have a 2 and a half-year-old son, Dean and a new baby girl named Dana. Despite how busy they were with their family, they still made us feel at home and it was great to catch up with them and get acquainted with Dean and Dana. We spent a very tranquilo 5 days with them catching up on our email and website stories. Darrel took us on a bit of a tour around the city, taking us to the colorful weekly market and pointing out the major landmarks. As we are not really lovers of big cities we were content to stay around the house and meet the neighbors, which turned out to be a colorful group. The next house down from theirs lives an older retired American gentleman named Rodney. Rodney came down through Central America 50 years ago on a 50cc Harley Davidson and ended up working for the US Geological Survey helping to map Honduras. He has some very fascinating stories. Also down the block from them is a Costa Rican family and an American/Honduran couple all with kids the same age as Dean and Dana. It’s always interesting to hear the stories of others about their life living abroad.

Sunday, Feb. 9: We finally tore ourselves away from our friends, their lovely house, soft bed and home cooking to head towards the famous ruins of Copan near the border with Guatemala. Darrel had given us some great suggestions of scenic roads to take. As it was a Sunday, the traffic on the roads was light and we were able to exit the city quite easily with no wrong turns. Since we were taking the scenic route we knew we weren’t going to make it all the way to Copan. So, we decided to stop in the quaint historic village of Gracias. This is a very scenic place surrounded by some of the highest pine forested peaks in Honduras. The streets are cobble-stoned and the churches are old colonial beauties. There’s even an old restored fort at the top of the hill behind town.

Monday, Feb. 10: We decided to spend the day here and explore a bit. First thing we did was climb up to the Fort, as it is cooler in the morning and there’s little shade up there. When we arrived at the entrance we noticed there was a chain across the gate and a sign saying it was closed for renovation. But, the chain was not actually locked, just draped over the latch. So, with no one else around we pushed the gates open and entered. We had the place to ourselves for a good half-hour or so. The fort is called El Castillo San Cristobal and comes complete with two finely restored Spanish canons and the 1852 tomb of former President Juan Lindo. The views from here of the town and surrounding mountains are spectacular.

As we were leaving, a helicopter flew in from nowhere and landed directly in front of the fort entrance. It was very dramatic with lots of dirt and debris kicked up from the helicopters blades. Out steps 4 men, dressed in what I would call smart-casual clothing. They started shaking the hands and greeting all the locals as they were coming up the hill to see this spectacle. As we walked down we asked a passerby if they knew who the visiting dignitaries were and he said they were from the Congresso Nacional, not sure what that means but certainly part of the government. Anyway, we left that scene behind and wandered around town taking in all the sites, beautiful churches, adobe houses, and a few colonial buildings.


Old Friends:  Darrel & Susan, and little Dean

When we last stayed with them (in Cambodia), Dean was still in Susan's belly, bursting to get out

Grocery shopping at the Friday market in Tegucigalpa


The streets of Gracias


A small church in Gracias


Cannons protect the fort's entrance


The cannons remain silent, as the politicians make their "attack"

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