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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by flyingdutchman177, Jun 20, 2012.
This is Guatemala's number one tourist attraction. It was a large Mayan city with some nice pyramids.
It was so large, it took me almost 5 hours to see everything.
I have been to several ruins sites all through Mexico and nw Guatemala - and each one is a bit different.
The pyramids here with steeper and had a more verticle back side
Great report! Subscribed.
Here the tops of the pyramids pop up from out of the middle of the jungle
Tikal is truly in the middle of no where
But it was somewhere 600+ years ago
Just like what you would see in National Geographic magazine, the ants carrying pieces of the leaves on their back to their nest underground
Its always more fun when you can climb around on the ruins (unlike Chichen Itza)
This place was truly in the jungle. You can see Toucans and Spider Monkeys in the trees. I watched the monkeys swing from branch to branch using their arms, legs and tail.
Hey I just saw this thread and noticed you last visited Tikal. I was wondering if you thought about visiting the tiny town Uaxactun north from Tikal. In 2007 I went up there and even further North to Dos Lagunas which is on boarder with Mexico. Very cool. I assume you are done with Tikal now and hopefully you decide to check out the Semuc Champey. It's a beautiful area with a really cool hostel scene. The main feature is a river that goes underground for a 1/4 or so with pool and drop on top. Hard to explain, google pics will show you how cool it is. Definitely worth it to check out.
Like Belize, I guess Guatemal is too poor to build a bridge. So for about a buck, you take this ferry across the river. But at least this one had an outboard motor
Here's my $15 a night hotel just outside Flores. Sure it had lots of bugs in the room but it had this really cool patio complete with Hammock
I rode down to the lake just outside Flores. This would be a beautiful shot if it weren't for the 2 ladies doing their wash in the lake
Semuc Champey.......maybe the best GS road in the world with a beautiful treat at the end
People say it is the highlight to see in Guatemala<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
I heard about it by fellow travelers. The Lonely Planet says it is the prettiest place in Guatemala. So I decided to check it out. I found a nearby city in my GPS and set out to see this place for myself.<o></o>
The highways in Guatemala seem to be in better shape than in Belize but not as nice as Mexico. But Guatemala has less signs to make sure you are heading in the right direction. <o></o>
Things were going well and then the road turned to dirt. And that was ok but then the road became more narrow and more rutted. And even that was ok, but then it began to rain and get slippery. And that was not ok. In fact, I wasnt even sure I was going the right way. The road was not on my GPS but it showed I was at least heading in the right direction. The wide dirt road turned in to a single lane dirt road and that was a bit unnerving considering that I was sharing that lane with an occasional truck on the road. Then out of nowhere, I get to a busy little village and the road came to an end. Actually the road continued thru the town but there were shops set up right in the middle of the street. I thought I had made a wrong turn. I asked a kid and he told me to ride right thru the town market. There was just enough room for a motorcycle to pass but not the smallest of cars. So I set out riding thru the village and their market. It was tight, but after a quarter mile, I made it to the other side. And on that other side, several transport vans were waiting. I am guessing that people traveling thru would have to get off one van, walk thru the town and get on to another van to continue their journey. It didnt make sense, but there was no other explanation. I was just happy that I made it thru as I wouldnt want to back-track on that windy, wet mountain road. After about 10 more miles of dirt road, I get to the junction with the dirt road to Semuc Champey. It stopped raining at that point and the road was dry. It went thru a beautiful green, lush valley. The road was a bit rocky, but it was a fun road for the GS. After about 8 miles, I get to the village of Lanquin. After here, the road became more rugged and steep. It was still fun for the GS, but I was hoping it would not get any worse. After about 6 more miles, I dropped in to a canyon when the eco village of Semuc Champey is located. I found a hostel to camp, right on the river. It was perfect! I was on this big high after that exhilarating ride in. I felt like this GS was going to take me anywhere.
The next day was my birthday. I signed up for the all day tour which consisted of a 45 minute hike up the mountain to a view point, swimming and jumping in to the pools which Semuc is famous for, exploring a nearby cave and then tubing down the river. And it was a bargain at $20.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
The pools are created because the river flows underground thru a cave and the unique water color come from the limestone. We spent over an hour playing in the water, sliding down natural water slides and jumping in the pools. That was lots of fun but the cave was even better. I have been in lots of caves but I have never been in one quite like this. The entrance was like many other caves but this one was relatively flat inside. It is basically just an underground river. There were places in the cave where the water was ankle deep and places where you would have to swim. The guides said that they explored the cave back to 7 miles in with no end in sight. We had to climb up waterfalls with ropes and ladders. And some of the pools were deep enough to dive in to. And all the light in the cave was provided by candlelight. It was truly awesome. Sorry, I don't have any pictures from inside the cave. It turns out my waterproof camera is not so waterproof afterall. So instead, here's a couple of shots of me!
That night for dinner, I spread the word around to the fellow travelers at the hostel that there would be a big party that night for my birthday. Everyone that comes here rides in on 4wd trucks. I was the only person there that brought his own transport. I bought a bottle of wine and shared the wine and conversation with new friends. Then toward the end of the night, they brought out a cake, a big shot of tequila, and sang happy birthday to me. I took the shot, a cheer came up from the group and the music got much loader. The party was here! The five, plump Mayan women working in the kitchen came out and took turns salsa dancing with me. And lets just say I have the rhythm of a robot on the dance floor but after the wine and tequila
I didnt give a fuck! It was my birthday. One of the fellow travelers was a professional juggler and hulla-hoop artist. She put on a show and then tried to teach me. But hoop work is worse than my dancing so I never mastered it. But it was still fun trying. Like Mikes Sky Rancho, the generator goes off at ten sharp. The lights went out and I went to my tent to sleep. There were no stars out that night which was a bad sign. Around midnight it began to rain. And it rained pretty much all night and in to the morning. I was a bit nervous about riding out the next day but I figured if I took it slow, all would be ok. I waited in my tent until about 8 am and the rain kept falling. At about 9 am, I decided to pack everything up wet and head out. I didnt know if it was ever going to stop and I had places to go and see. Around 10:30, it was still raining and I headed out. I got maybe half mile, I rounded a corner and my back tire slid out on the very slippery rocks. The bike rotated 90 degrees and I drove half way off the road. I kept the bike upright, but I went to put my foot down and I couldnt keep the bike from falling over. POW! Down it went. I tried to pick it up myself, but it was in an awkward position, half off the road. I also strained my back trying to do it myself. I felt it pop 3 times. OUCH!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
I looked, there was a family watching and I waved them over to help. They just stood there. I kept waving and finally a guy came over. Between the 2 of us, we couldnt pick it up. A third guy was just standing there watching. I waved him over and he reluctantly came over to help. The three of us got the bike up and I rode back to the hostel. One of the guys said back at the hostel
.I told you so. Yeh
. But I had to try. I could not just sit around and wait for the rain to stop.<o></o>
I am typing this right now waiting for the skies to clear and the road to dry up. It has stopped raining but I am not sure if I am going to be able to leave today. I hate wasting the day, but I dont want to die trying to get out either. I am not sure how long I will be here but as soon as I get an internet connection, I will try to send this note out so everyone knows that I a ok.<o></o>
Here's an update to my story...................
As you can see, I made it out of Semuc Champey.
It stopped raining around noonish.
Things started to dry up a little.
I got impatient and left around 2:30
I aired down my tires to about 15 to 19 PSI
But I soon noticed that is was still very muddy and slick.
There were places that were like ice! I swear
My bike was skating along.
I was going down steep hills and I could feel my big bike get loose under me. The front would go one way and the back te other. It was one time I wish I didn't have 100 horsepower and 3 sleeping bags:eek1
I was being so delicate with the throttle and my steering inputs were focused on what the tires were doing.
It was crazy. I wasn't sure I was going to make it at times. The road was narrow and steep.
I was afraid that I would meet a car head on on a hill that I had no chance of being able to stop on. Or I was afraid that my rear tire would slide around like it did before and send me and my big over the edge................and yes, it was a long way down!
But in the end, I made it up to the pavement without dumping my bike again. Right now I am in Coban. I found a hotel and I am letting all my stuff dry out.
I noticed it started to rain again. I thought this was supposed to be the dry season here!!!!
Here's my camp spot on the river at a Hostel called El Portal in Semuc Champey
Almost out of Semuc
Once the sun came out, the views were awesome
I hope you like attention
Because if you are riding a GS1200 thru Central America, you are going to get more looks than Pamela Anderson (in her prime) running topless on the beach
Everywhere I go, there are people standing along side the road. I am not sure what they are doing, but when I go by, every eye is one me. and when I stop, I small crowd always gathers around. They ask the same questions:
Where I am from
How big is the engine
And how much the bike costs
Here is a picture at the top of the hill outside of Semuc. I am putting air in my tires with my little pump. They look at my GPS. They notice the video camera near my front fender. They just stand there and smile and make comments in Spanish.
I am not sure what they are saying, but I think it is......."that is the coolest bike I have ever seen"