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Old 11-18-2010, 10:15 AM   #1
Animo OP
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Location: Playa del Carmen
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Playing hooky in Belize

Last month I went to Belize on business and tried to sneak away as much as possible after my meetings. I rode the F650gsT down to Belize and was able to see some amazing places. I just found the pictures, and even though they are few they reminded me of how fun that bike really is.......

I had to go to the Caves Branch to meet up with some of our Guides. The Caves Branch sits at the bottom of the Maya foothills. It is the beginning of the rainforest offering humongous Ceiba Trees and incomparable vegetation.

It is called the Caves Branch due to the river which runs underneath the mountains. The river snakes underground for miles, it is in this location we organize a tour called Belie Cave Tubing.

Anyways, enough of work, you get the point, let’s get back to the bike.

Where I live it is totally flat, straight roads and highways of sorts. It was nice to find curves and hills.

You should see the size of those trees!

Now you see it, had to turn on the lights.

The Caves Branch Outpost

And then rode back to Belize City


Life is good, even in adversity!

Yucatan | Chiapas | Belize 1 | Belize 2 | QRoo | Guanajuato
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:27 AM   #2
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More sneaking about

A couple of days later I was able to sneak away some more and went from Belize City to the Old Northern Highway. Belize has since "discontinued that road" due to the newer Northern Highway. The Old Northern brings you to places such as Altun ha, Bamba and then comes back out close to the Belize/Mexico border.

Belize has many, many rivers, and plenty of bridges allowing you to cross over.

The roads are one thing, what you really have to watch out for are these sugar cane trucks. They either travel at 5mph and you can slam in the back of one flying around a curve, or they travel 100mph spewing all kinds shit all over the place. With sugar cane sticks flying out of the truck you are much better off either passing then as fast as you can, or slow down and let them go on before you ride again, getting impaled was not on the program.

The Old Northern is unfortunately unkept, much of the road turns onto a one lane road. I was glad to be on a bike and not in a car until tour vans (and frigging busses) coming back from Altun Ha were flying around the corner. I had to jump off of the 1/2 foot drop off to avoid being hit head on, and then rode off-road trying to find a piece of road that was not a huge step to get back on the road.

Spider Monkeys in the trees

A must see stop at Altun Ha along the way

You have to love the houses, and no, it is not a tree house, it's on stilts that are miraculously standing.....

The scenery was beautiful and with very little traffic, and the road kept getting worse making it even more fun.

A few road hazards....

Crossing jungle and then rivers the road turned to a dirt road where I rattled all the way to the New Northern and rode back to Belize City to hhmmmmm work......

Thanks for reading.
Life is good, even in adversity!

Yucatan | Chiapas | Belize 1 | Belize 2 | QRoo | Guanajuato
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:57 PM   #3
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Last day playing hooky

A couple of days later I had to ride close to Cayo to check out St. Herman's Cave, it was a ride I was really looking forward to.

It was another perfect sunny day, with empty roads, hills and many curves, fantastic!

Hermann's was in the rainforest, unfortunately a tour that didn’t work out due to distances, but it was a pleasure to visit.

This is the Blue Hole at Hermann's. The water is usually blue, but due to all the rain a few days earlier the color was not quite what it should have been.

I was only 30 minutes away from the Cayo District, where Belize borders Guatemala and thought to visit the Belizean Pine Ridge. The Pine Ridge is the only natural pine forest in Central America, the road is absolutely stunning and climbs to a height of 3,000+ft. I had wanted to go there for years but had never been able to. It is a road that is very little traveled as it dead ends right before Guatemala. The other reason is due to bandits that cross over from Guatemala to rob tourists and tourist vans visiting the ruins of Caracol. I naturally had to go and check it out. When I told the gas station attendant I was riding there alone he thought I was nuts, making me even more eager to check it out.

The road is unpaved but in great condition. It starts in the rain forest, quickly changing to high altitude vegetation.

The Pine Ridge offers a handful of beautiful resorts at the beginning of the climb, Francis Coppola owns an out of this World resort there as well. Besides that there are no villages, no people, and no cars/bikes to be found. You are on your own. (You and the bandits I guess) The thought of "Maybe I should not behere alone" came to mind now and again.....

I did see a few houses, but only at the very beginning of the road to the pine ridge.

The beautiful sunny day suddenly turned to torrential rain. I donned my rain gear, and kept climbing.

The rain would come and go, but when it came it really came. One of those "when it rains it pours kinda rain"

And then it rained, and rained, and rained. The packed dirt road became mud. The hard packed sand became to mush, and the road disappeared under a river rushing from the higher hill tops. I guess that is what a flash flood looks like, and I was riding in it. I immediately started hating BMW for their stock Battle Wing stock tires, I started hating myself for not purchasing knobbies like I had wanted to. Started kicking myself in the ass for being in the middle of a dangerous nowhere by myself!

The road definitely started to suck!

But eventually did get nicer. Some bridges had been cemented, not like the crumbling other bridges I had to cross.....

The rain finally came to a drizzle. The road did not change much, as all the water rushing down from all the rain was still doing so with gusto, and the mud only became worse.

I stopped at a waterfall for a little break. My legs were numb from all the close slippery calls I had, if I wanted a rush I got my money's worth.

Shortly after the waterfall I made it to the army post where a sing read "The Armed convoy to Caracol departs daily at 9am and returns at 4pm" Armed convoy? Forget that! I talked to the soldiers for a bit, and because it was getting dark they advise to head back as it would surely be dark by the time I get back to Cayo.

The way back down it was definitely more difficult than the way up, I didn't think of that. My tires slipped and slid everywhere, the concentration to stay on both wheels was intense.

I came to a steep slope a little too fast and the front wheel got caught in a ditch in the middle of the road which was created by all the water rushing downhill. The front tire was caught in the groove, I managed to get out of it, then my back tire got caught. I was able to pull out of that one, then the pike slipped and the front wheel got caught in the next grove. My breaks just slipped away and were not able to stop me going downhill. I was standing up on the foot pegs and tried my best to not let the swerving bike get the best of me, and that is when the back wheel slid. I hit a big rock with the back wheel while sliding to the right and the bike flipped me over on the left side. I flew forward and skidded down the muddy/rocky road coming to a stop about 50ft downhill.

I got up, checked all of my moving parts, and they still were. I had absolutely no injuries for the exception of a bruised ego. I looked up hill and saw the bike, and I immediately thought "I am FFFFFUUUUCCCCCCKKKEEEDDDDDDD!!!!!"

The bike was in a ditch on the right side of the road. It was laying in the ditch front end first, with the back wheel sticking out of the ditch. The wheels were facing uphill, the body downhill. With a bike that weights 199kg after a diet I knew there would be no way to get it out in that position.

I looked around and the view was like the picture above, except my bike was in a ditch. The feeling of aloneness came upon me. I was in the middle of nowhere and no one could hear me scream "FFFUUUUCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!!!" I was trying to figure out what to do. I looked around a full 360 a few times not believing what I just gotten into, trying to figure out how to lift a bike out of a 4ft ditch and no option sounded good. Strange enough I thought of taking a picture, but my camera was in the left pannier, and the bike was laying on it, I was totally fucked.

I put my helmet on top of the bike, unzipped my rain jacked, I looked up and all of a sudden there were 10 soldiers on one side of the dirt road and 10 on the other side. All were in camouflage and fully painted in jungle warfare face paint, all were pointing M16's right at my head! I immediately put my hands up hoping that they didn’t think I was some kind of Guatemala bandit and end my journey, it would turn from fuked to fukter!

One soldier (with a bunch of stripes) leaps from out of the pines and onto the road right next to me; he asks "Are you all right sir?" I was speechless, it was like a dream and Rambo was in it. "Are you alright?" He repeated. I said "Eweuye wdhwey deewwel" or something close to that. 5 soldiers then jump out of the trees, they grab my bike like it was a little scooter and place it in the middle of the road.

After I came back to reality I thanked them profusely, they saved my friggin life! They stuck around a bit to talk, and told me they were doing jungle warfare training on the Pine Ridge. They had been in the jungle between Belize and Guatemala for the past 2 weeks doing survival training. One soldier looked at my pannier which was now lying in the middle of the road, the holding bolt had snapped right off in the fall. The soldier grabbed some rope and tied the pannier back on the bike in about 3 seconds flat, he tied to so well that all the way back I might as well have had it on the mounting bolt.

I cannot express how lucky I was. Had they not been there my night would have been spent in the middle of nowhere. The only hope would have been a passing car (as if) or bandits (more than likely) The Belize Defense Force ROCKS !

I then made my way back down, slowly and carefully. I was worried the same thing would happen again, but without the lucky ending.

I finally made it back to Belize City where I visited a machine shop to fix the pannier.

This awesome guy fixed the mounting bracket, drilled out the broken bolt, rethreaded the bracket etc for only $10usd. BMW would have charged me $200us.

I went back to Mexico the next day, and that was all the adventure I could handle.

Thanks for reading.

The End

Life is good, even in adversity!

Yucatan | Chiapas | Belize 1 | Belize 2 | QRoo | Guanajuato

Animo screwed with this post 11-18-2010 at 01:09 PM
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Old 11-18-2010, 02:44 PM   #4
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excellent adventure! glad your get off resulted in nothing permanently damaged except your ego! get some knobbies, you won't regret it!
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:04 PM   #5
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Camouflaged motorcycle lifts!!! That is amazing luck

Great story, Matteo2. You never know when the adventure will start....
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:43 PM   #6
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Very nice,
one of the places I'd love to visit is Belize.
Google Earth GPS Howto (still a work in progress) use USGS TOPO Maps to layout trails.

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Old 11-18-2010, 04:17 PM   #7
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:39 PM   #8
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... cool story and great pics. I think you've got this business trip stuff figured out.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:57 PM   #9
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Belize dementia

Thats the sort of adventure I am too chicken shit to put myself in. But it proves the old saying "Fortune favors the bold." Great, great stuff.

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Old 12-19-2010, 06:08 PM   #10
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you had an awesome ride, and very good luck!

" If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself " - Max Ehrmann
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:35 AM   #11
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Great report! I was in Belize a couple of years ago on a cruise stop. I often think of selling it all and moving there! I didn't do the underwater cave thing but now that I know somebody in that business I'll have to do it. If I drop your name will I get a discount
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:46 AM   #12
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Ah Belize!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Fun place........Belikin Beer!
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:00 AM   #13
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Wow.. what a story! It must have been your lucky day to have those soldiers come to your aid! Thanks for the report and pics
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:32 AM   #14
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Great story. You sure are having a lot of fun. Keep the reports coming.
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:18 PM   #15
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COOL, that's a great story
"Quote" The advantage of the rain is that, if you have a quick bike, there's no advantage.
(Barry Sheene) .
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