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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Ulyses, Oct 29, 2012.
What an adventure
A little Facebook update from my older shorter uglier brother.
"Just did a lot of offroading to get to Shemuc Champey. Broke my luggage rack again and got bit by a German Shepherd. Spent yesterday morning welding things back together. Won´t have much internet for the next few days. Will post back later!"
Bro! We came by the Moto Cafe but you were closed! I´m super disapointed. We did end up finding a lot of dirt on the way to Semuc Chamey though. If I come back through, i´ll hit you up!
Good luck man! I´ve been planning this stuff for the last couple of years before I got out! You´re going to love it! And thanks for your service! How much terminal leave do you have?
Thanks man! I´m sure I´d love to go back to San Pedro at some point, but I really had a bad run of luck down there!
That´s excellent man! I would have loved to meet your friend! Hope you get to take the ride down there!
I´m sure he does. You should throw some nobbies on there and try and get some roost.....
I can´t turn the tracks on....it eats too much batteries and It´s really hard to find lithiums down here.
And I´m definetly going to hit up klrelsalvadors....
Eh, must have been out riding! Can't blame us, either that or it was Sunday afternoon relax time.
Enjoy it up there in Semuc, awesome area! If you're up for more dirt and heading towards Rio Dulce, check out this route:
Leave Lanquin heading East, you'll be asking for the town of Cahabon.
Straight through Cahabon and dirt all the way down to the 7E which runs East/West just above Lago Izabal.
When you dead end in to the 7E, turn left and head towards Rio Dulce.
About 30kms before Rio Dulce, keep an eye out for signs for Finca Paraiso - this place is great. Awesome swimming hole with a hot waterfall flowing into it... one of the best hot springs I've been to.
Continue on the 7E and you'll dead end into Rio Dulce. Turn right to go across the bridge, get a picture at the top, and look down so you can see Backpackers Hotel.. cheap dorms.
Just an idea for you. Enjoy the road!
a few teasers:
rio dulce bridge:
Thanks to all that have chimed in and are reading the trip report!
I rode to Copan two days ago, mostly on dirt, and managed to break my luggage rack (again), nearly eat sh%t twice, and get bitten by a German Shepherd. This stuff is getting to be so common it´s not even crazy anymore!
Currently staying at Zephyr Lodge near Semuc Champey. Explored the caves and the river pools today. Don´t have much time on the internet here, will post a new ride description, pictures and videos next time I get good internet!
haha! Thanks for the recomendation! Someone else told us about this road too and I think we are going to take it. It´s a little muddy though.....hope I don´t break my bike again!
If I swing back through Antigua before I head for El Salvador, I´ll hit you guys up!
Neil here, I was one of your roomies at the HU thingie in Cambria, CA. The one on the way to AZ from AK. I gots an XRL here in AZ. I just found you RR and got caught up. I'm glad to see you're doing it. Much respect.
Hey! Good to hear from you! How's the XRL running?
Just made it into Chiquimula, Guatemala. Left Zephyr Lodge this morning in mist and mud. The rocks were so slippery it was like riding on ice. Made it to the tarmac and found that it was even worse! It was like riding on a thin layer of grease. I managed to crash and slide my bike along the pavement for about 20 yards. Then I got back up and kept riding and managed to skid right into the back of a bus!
Guatemala is trying to kill me. I'm getting out of here.
I'm going to get cleaned up, get some dinner. Then I'll post the rest of the details from the last four days. I've got some good pictures and even a little video.
Glad to hear you're still doing well despite some pavement surfing. Can't wait to read the full run down.
In Antingua we said goodbye to Chris and Allison. Chris was heading to El Salvador and Allison into Hondouras. Justin and myself still had a couple of weeks to kill before our boat left Panama on December 13<SUP>th</SUP>, so we decided to stay in the cheap countries (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua) as long as possible and then make a made dash for Panama a few days before we set sail.
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Two Canadians, Corey and Kurt, were also looking to kill a little time in Guatemala, so we all decided to head north up to Semuc Chempey and Tikal. Semuc Chempey is a National Park with incredible cave systems and underground rivers and Tikal is a very famous Mayan Ruin.
We left Antigua around noon and started heading north. Working off a GPS map given to us by fellow rider and Alaskan Native, Chris, we headed for highway 5. The road very quickly deteriorated into a potholed mess. However, after about 40 miles, the road smoothed out and turned into a broad two laned highway. Unfortunately, the two lane highway only lasted for about 10 miles and then turned into a very broad two lane gravel road. Apparently Highway 5 was still under construction.
The gravel was excellent! Now we were really adventure riding. I dug out my goggles and we started riding dirty. I practiced my counterbalancing on a seriously overloaded bike and managed to get plenty of roost. At one point I pushed it a little too hard in a corner and almost ate it. Luckily I captured it on my gopro.
After a while, the road terminated in a small village. On the other side of the village, the road denigrated into a single lane dirt track that lead up into the hills. It was beautiful! Solid dirt with plenty of climbing and steep turns! The road climbed a huge ridge and then descended into a valley on the other side.
In the valley we finally got back on pavement and tried to make up for lost time. We realized that we weren’t going to make it to Seumuc Chempey and decided to stop in Copan for the night. A few minutes later I noticed this family riding nearby:
I love this! It's so Guatemala. Kid up front with no helmet. Dad driving hell bent for leather. Mom riding side saddle on back holding the groceries. It's priceless!
As the day lagged on, we began to think that we might not even make it to Copan. We stopped at a few hotels along the road and checked out prices. After pricing out one hotel, I was pulled away only to have a German Shepherd decide to jump out of the gate and bite my leg! Luckily his teeth didn’t break my riding pants.
We eventually did make it Copan, just after dark, and found a hotel for 100 Q. As I was pulling of my panniers, I realized that my luggage rack was broken again! Apparently all of the off-roading abuse that I had subjected it to during the day had proved too much for my poor rack. This is the second time that the rack has broken. Everyone was telling me that the sub frame would break on my bike; so far it’s only been the rack. Luckily, as we were coming into town, I had noticed a muffler shop nearby.
The next morning I woke up early and visited the Muffler shop. I explained to the welder what had happened and what I wanted to do; then we got down to business. I used a file and sandpaper to clean the metal up, then the welder, Enrique, fired up his Lincoln arc welder, and ran a bead around the break.
After seeing the quality of his weld, I had him weld gussets on to the rack for good measure.
Then, just for kicks, I had him weld gussets onto the other, un-broken side of the rack. We cleaned everything up with a half broken angle grinder, zapped it all with a little black spray paint, then reattached everything and dosed all of the bolts with Blue Locktite. Then I had Enrique sign my gas tank.
In order to further secure my panniers, I borrowed a ratchet strap from one of the Canadians, and lashed them down even tighter. Hopefully, the reinforced rack and the lack of vibration will help prevent a further break.
One hour and seven dollars later, I was good to go! We busted out for Semuc Champey and the Zephyr Lodge.
After a little more dirt riding, we arrived at the Zephyr Lodge. Zephyr Lodge is an incredible tropical style hostel perched on a high shoulder of land overlooking a beautiful river valley with high mist covered cliffs.
The next morning we jumped into a diesel 4x4 and chugged up to Semuc Champey where we explored the cave system and swam in the famous pools. There are plenty of beautiful limestone caves in the area. The one in the national park is over 10km long. You are required to go with a local guide. Here's our guide:
Note the headlamp with about 10 candles stuck under the elastic. This is the Guatemalan idea of safety precautions. Essentially, the guide leads you into the cave and then you wade and swim upstream in an underground river, all by candle light! It’s extremely fun and more than a little dangerous! At several points we climbed up the limestone through waterfalls and then jumped down into 10 foot deep subterranean plunge pools. During the whole trip the guide left a bread crumb trail of lit candles.
Here's a picture of our little group:
After the cave we went and saw the pools. The local river actually plunges down underneath the ground while a cave resurgence forms crystal blue pools of aquamarine water on top of the subterranean flow. There are about 12 pools total before the river reemerges from under the ground. Here's me at the "mirador" overlooking the pools:
And here's where the river plunges underneath the pools:
We went down and swam in the pools and I took some video and photo underwater to test out just how tough my Olympus “Tough” camera was.
We planned on leaving the next day to head up to Tikal; however, when we awoke, Ed Zachtamundo and one of the Canadians had contracted the plague and we decided to stay at Zephyr Lodge one more day so that they could rest and heal up. The other Canadian and I went and checked out the church in the local village that dated back to 1540.
This morning we left Zephyr Lodge and headed for Tikal via Coban. It had rained all night and was still misty. The rough, rocky road that we had come in on was now slippery and muddy. The bikes were sliding around and we barely managed 10 mph getting back to the pavement.
We figured that everything would be hunky dorey as soon as we reached the tarmac. We were mistaken. For some reason the pavement was slick and greasy with the surface consistency of an ice rink. As I accelerated and braked, I noticed that my tires were sliding around and not getting any traction.
We slowly worked our way back towards Coban. As I was coming into a downhill inside turn, I braked and my wheels locked up and just slid! I realized that I was heading straight for a small concrete ditch and that I wasn’t going to be able slow down enough to make the turn, so I intentionally low sided the bike and began pavement surfing. Luckily, I had enough time to pull my left leg out from under the bike before I put it down. I managed to stand with my right foot on the engine and my left foot flat on the ground (it was so slick that it just slid on the pavement) and both hands on the bars as I slid into the corner. I ended up surfing it all the way down the road until it finally stopped.
As soon as I stopped, I jumped off the bike and did a frantic pat down to make sure I was okay. Then I sprinted away from the bike so I could snap some pictures for posterity. As I was finishing up my photo shoot, Justin and the Canadians came around the corner. I motioned them to keep going so they didn’t repeat my mistake and then picked my bike up.
Luckily, the damage was minimal. My ammo can had received the brunt of the crash and was a little dented in the corner with some small holes that the pavement grinding had caused. In reality, I think the pavement was more damaged than my ammo can as I left a long 30 foot gouge in the tarmac.
The left barkbuster/handguard took the rest of the impact and only had some light scuffs. The structural carbon fiber that my brother had used to make the hand guards actually ended up being tougher than my solid steel panniers, which says a lot!
We kept moving and about a mile later I was trying to slow down for a tope when I started skidding again and smacked right into the backside of a bus! Luckily it was a low speed impact and the bus didn’t even stop after I hit him; he just kept going like nothing had happened.
By this time I was getting a little angry. It was obvious that Guatemala didn’t like me. In the span of two and a half weeks I had been stranded in international waters, run over by a boat, watched my laptop commit suicide, accidently ingested about a pound of mary jane, off-roaded the bike until the luggage rack broke, gotten bit by a German Shepherd, road-surfed on greasy pavement, and ran into the back of a bus. It was time to get the hell out of Guatemala!
We made it to Coban and Ed Zachtamundo and I talked it out. We decided to skip Tikal and start heading south. We apologized to the Canadians and parted ways. A few hours later we were out of the rain and cruising for Honduras (or maybe El Salvador). We’ve stopped for the night in a little town called Chiquimula. Tomorrow we figure out if we want to go see the ruins in Copan, Honduras, or head straight for El Salvador to see elsalvadorklr’s bar…..<o></o>
awesome ride, man. keep it coming!!
Geez man! Get out of Guatemala QUICK!
Distructo-Bryce! Enjoying the read man. Does your buddy have a thread or a blog going? Love to read that one too.
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That crash looks like the exact same place that radioman crashed at. Check out his thread.
The ruins in Coban are so so ; they are ok for what it's worth. Amazing trip man! Lots of envy.
That border crossing into Honduras is super easy and smooth also near Coban.