She's got this crazy idea- exploring the 3 America's solo, for better or for worse...

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Hewby, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

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    I've got some Spanish under my belt, so that's something. (Lived a few months in Argentina, not to mention living here in Tucson.)
    Thank you for your encouragement!
    #81
  2. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Thanks was fun to meet you. Enjoy your ride!
    #82
  3. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Feb 20, 2012
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    After my last week at school, I took the bus to Mexico City to met Marcin at the airport. After 67 days, and some challenging travels it was wonderful to see him again. We had a brief tour of the center of México City then headed back to the house we had rented in the hills of Oaxaca with friends for the week of dia de los muertos.

    The week is one of the most important for the people of Oaxaca. Much time effort and money goes into preparing for the festival, and as the people believe the return of the dead to their homes and cemeteries over the week.
    In the homes and shops they prepare amazing alters to the dead, littered with the favourite food of the departed.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8173791349/" title="P1000287 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8345/8173791349_f246d09753.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="P1000287"></a>

    Over the week we saw many parades with incredible costumes
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8152065552/" title="P1000199 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7267/8152065552_eacba7cea1.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1000199"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8173795419/" title="P1000140 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8338/8173795419_17a7174d38.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1000140"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8173794733/" title="P1000169 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8480/8173794733_49189cc16e.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="P1000169"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8168781708/" title="P1000441 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8200/8168781708_ee85a039ee.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="P1000441"></a>

    Danced with marching bands, with more tubas than I have ever seen in one place
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8168757321/" title="P1000378 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8198/8168757321_8b74a25b80.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1000378"></a>

    Visited cemeteries where the families crowd at the richly decorated graves throughout the night feasting and playing music for the departed.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8152036681/" title="P1000351 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8482/8152036681_1ac18495c2.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="P1000351"></a>

    It was lovely to be able to sit down with the families in the cemetery and speak to them about the evening with my new improved spanish!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8152035931/" title="P1000342 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8058/8152035931_1347850045.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1000342"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8168691782/" title="P1000361 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8197/8168691782_e45a062fbc.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1000361"></a>

    It was a deeply touching experience, and strange to reflect my own culture where I don&#8217;t think I have ever visited a grave of a family member after their death. Stepping only into cemeteries, with a kind of voyeuristic historical interest. Never relating personally to those that lay beneath the stones. Here I was touched by the Mexican relationship with death, not seemingly scared by the at times gruesome imagery that plastered the churches and the streets, but the threat of their own mortality reminding them to live each moment. I was also moved by their deep connection to family, both the living and the dead. Amazing really.

    After a fantastic week with Marcin, and the others as they headed back in the wee hours of the morning to Mexico City on flights to Seattle. I rode of towards the lovely town of San Cristobel de Casa with Dan and Sara, where I left them 2 days later sipping coffee and eating delicious French pastries on the cobbled streets of the beautiful town.
    #83
  4. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
    315
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Heading to Palenque I find myself back on the road alone again, but this time not feeling so alone. I pass numerous bikes on the road, and the towns are filled with English speaking tourists. A far cry from the few westerners I met in the north of the country.

    Google maps decided to send me on a diversion instead of the well made well used road between Palenque and san Cristobel I went exploring the hills of san Cristobel, the small towns and untimely the dead ends that Google decided to send me on. At times not having a GPS and a good mapping system can lead to some adventures. Getting into my campground, not the 2 .5 hours after Google told me, but 6 or so hours later right on dark was a little disconcerting.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8173784857/" title="P1010009 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8198/8173784857_2fe72822cb.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1010009"></a>

    While exploring the ruined temples of Palenque, I stopped for a tired moment to rest in the sun against a wall. Suddenly like I was woken from a dream, the wall started to rock. In my sleepy state I thought the people behind me were pushing the foot thick stones. I looked around but no-one seemed perturbed, or even to notice. Five minutes later a guard came up to tell us in Spanish to move from the top of the temple, as there had been an earth tremor.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8173794979/" title="P1010066 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8209/8173794979_19571cf028.jpg" width="500" height="137" alt="P1010066"></a>

    Sadly this turned out to be a big earthquake in southern Guatemala. But I was not to know this for a while...

    As we moved off the temple I met with a little boy who asked if I was Australian. It turned out he and his mother were Tasmanian as well, their roots based in Cygnet, just down from Hobart. We spent a lovely morning exploring the ruins and the museum together. Seeing the world through the curious eyes of a very well travelled four year old was refreshing. It was also inspiring to hear his mother confirm the real possibility of travelling the third world with a young child, their adventures spanning from when he was 8 months old to across south east Asia, India, China, Morocco and Europe. His intelligence and memory for the places he had seen and his recollection and inquisitiveness of the details of the stories he had been told, and the cultures he had been introduced to was inspiring. Very much reducing my fear that extensive travel with children was incredibly difficult and in some way out of the realm of possibility.
    #84
  5. ar1814

    ar1814 Been here awhile

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    Great RR ! Subscribed ! :clap
    #85
  6. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

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    Tucson, AZ
    Tucson has an enormous Day of the Dead weekend celebration here as well. It's very unique - simultaneously wild and reverently meaningful - unique for the US, anyway. Here are a few photos that show only the tip of the iceberg... (I think/hope these photo albums are accessible via the link - the first album shows the actual procession and burning of the "urn", the second album shows one of the community altars and the pre-procession gathering.

    All Souls 2011
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150361280978040.356488.655783039&type=1&l=7804521b4d
    All Souls 2012
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151146991448040.453819.655783039&type=1&l=7795b226e6
    #86
  7. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Well I almost forgot- but I passed my first road block on the way to San Cristobal de casa. The taxis were striking and left a huge pile of cars, and trucks waiting on each side of the block. Luckily I was with Dan and Sara at that point and Dan scouted ahead to find a route through the pile up. He found one off a dirt track and was kind enough to take my bike down for me, much to the delight of the onlookers. Better that I thought, than risk a crash infront of them!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177824198/" title="P1000572 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8342/8177824198_e46d86af15.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1000572"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177793255/" title="P1000575 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8345/8177793255_08ca813701.jpg" width="500" height="281" alt="P1000575"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177796571/" title="P1000577 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8488/8177796571_2f3ed1ae8f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1000577"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177743462/" title="P1000584 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8062/8177743462_9644fe272a.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1000584"></a>
    #87
  8. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Taking my leave from Palenque I decide to try and head to Tikal. In what I am finding true Google maps style there is no road posted between the two places. My paper maps also leave me wondering. I don’t want to head all the way south just to come back up again. A quick internet search gives me a lead the wonders of ADV come back into play, with Cal and Guaterider and Huzar always at the ready to assist me in my journeys! Thank you all! So I head towards El Cebio
    At times I have such poor Internet searching for info is tough. And I have to admit I am a terrible planner and researcher when on the road. So I am thankful for the wonderful help and leads from others. The border crossing for me was just as was posted, down to the man coming out to take a picture of my bike on the Mexican side. On the Guatemalan side the paperwork is still completed in a truck on the side of the road. The staff on both sides of the border are friendly and the process is smooth. Once again I get inquisitive questions ‘Solitia?’ Seems to be the ongoing questions on everyone’s lips.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177714191/" title="IMG_3115 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8349/8177714191_0f21817f4f.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_3115"></a>

    I travel fast on the newly made roads of the north. I reflect that I have not been on such good roads for a while. But contrasting this is the poorer style housing of the people, the masses of free range pigs wandering the roads, turkeys are also predominant. Yet a seeming lack of gardens and land that is being put to use. Just open spaces. Notes in the lonely planet talk of the new roads causing the farmers to move north, slashing and burning the jungle, then a few short years later finding the land less arable as the soil cannot sustain the growth. And then I see people carrying what seems to be water in pots on their head. ‘No’ I think, ‘Really?’. The poverty starts to hit me.

    I arrive at the lovely Isle of Flores, and wander round trying to find a hotel where I can securely park my bike. After 3 or 4 I find a relatively cheap one where I can bring the bike into the restaurant after dark. It might be safe for the bike, but my room leaves a little to be desired. The rickety stairs leading up to the door stop just past he door with no landing. Guess the building code did not apply here!
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177719849/" title="IMG_3142 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8337/8177719849_0d47f3e298.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_3142"></a>


    After a beautiful sunset and a relaxed morning, I head off to Tikal.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177717031/" title="P1010101 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8206/8177717031_b119d7f50c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1010101"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177749212/" title="P1010112 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8485/8177749212_06141b06e2.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1010112"></a>
    #88
  9. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    I arrive at Tikal in the afternoon, set up tent in the grounds of hotel in the park, and head into the jungle. I walk through the lesser ruins and I am one of the only ones there. The Howling moneys are going crazy- their loud sounds close to that that sea lions make. Quite deafening. I try not to sand under them as I look up to see the racket.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177720583/" title="P1010119 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8487/8177720583_9118b4ee33.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1010119"></a>

    I stay to see the sun set over the jungle, and walk back down through the ruins as the stars come out and I am told to leave the site by the guards.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177732457/" title="P1010164 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8348/8177732457_40251d2c2b.jpg" width="500" height="87" alt="P1010164"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177768066/" title="P1010189 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8066/8177768066_8f7f88de2c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1010189"></a>
    Camping under the stars with the sounds for the jungle was amazing. The chilly evening air loud with the sounds or frogs and crickets, the sky pinpricked with stars, and fire flies flash in the grass at my feet. In the distance i heard the howler monkeys scream, and you could feel the awesome presence of the the Myan ruins awaiting the sunrise. I decided to sleep only a little and awake again under the stars at 4am to enter the park again and see the sunrise.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177744703/" title="P1010204 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8342/8177744703_47504823f8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1010204"></a>

    I walk back through the ruins alone as I decided I did not want to join a tour at this time of the morning. The wildlife is amazing.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177740927/" title="IMG_3215 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8209/8177740927_85bbe396d0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_3215"></a>
    #89
  10. BenZens

    BenZens Adventurer

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    Sep 13, 2012
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    lost in Saskatchewan
    Great ride report, sounds like an awesome adventure. I am subscribed and eagerly awaiting your next updates.

    Ben
    #90
  11. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
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    Looks like your FlickR account is acting up. I much prefer Picasa or SmugMug for Photo hosting.
    #91
  12. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Thanks- don't know why it does this. Will try and keep an eye on it. uploads can at times be a challenge with dodgy internet on the road but such are the joys! Bear with me ;)
    #92
  13. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    I don&#8217;t really know where I am going next- I toy with the idea of Belize but I have also just entered Guatemala and I don&#8217;t feel like another border just yet. I get on the road and head south towards Coban, instead. Then, as I miss the turn off to Coban I decide then to go further south to Rio Dulce. This is the way my travel goes at times. I am not a good planner for the little details. I like to keep the process fluid as I dislike the pressure of time constraints and needing to be somewhere.

    I arrive in Rio Ducle just on dark, as the first drops of rain are starting to fall. I stay in a backpackers over the water and it pours all night. The sounds of the loud bar rock me to sleep.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8191059297/" title="IMG_3251 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8065/8191059297_628efe6b67.jpg" width="500" height="500" alt="IMG_3251"></a>

    The next day I take leave from the bike and head down the river on a lanche towards Livingstone. The river winds through a jungle clad gorge, and the bird life on the water is phenomenal. Huts line the water, and at times children paddle out towards the boats in dugout canoes selling shells and starfish and jewelry.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8177807572/" title="P1010267 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8204/8177807572_9121c17f58.jpg" width="500" height="206" alt="P1010267"></a>

    The boat stops in Livinstone, a place unlike any I have seen yet in Central America. It has the feel of the Caribbean. It's home to the Garífuna (descendants of indigenous Carib and shipwrecked African slaves), many people speak a laid back English and local dialect, and I hear much less Spanish. As I am walking into town from the dock with a girl from Belgium, we meet a man on the main street, Philip. He is Garif and proud of it.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8196974883/" title="IMG_3397 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8202/8196974883_46e3cf294f.jpg" width="500" height="500" alt="IMG_3397"></a>

    He talks about his culture, and trying to keep the pride of the people, and begs us not to by the coral, and starfish for sale in all of the shops as it is killing the reef. I talk about the local food and he says he will take me on a tour of the local town and show me the restaurant. He states that he is one of the town leaders and asks that we donate to the local children&#8217;s feeding program instead of a tour fee. He talks about the poverty of the Grafi and how as a minority they are not represented in government. He points out that the shop owners are all Spanish speakers and states that there is &#8216;an unofficial l apartheid here&#8221;. He goes on to talk about how the feeding program is set up to feed the children of the village one meal a day to try and assist the single mothers from selling their bodies to make money to feed the kids, creating an ongoing cycle of poverty. We walk through the back alleys of the Garífuna community, he shakes hand with everyone and calls out to all that we pass. The children run up and ask for photos, at times playing to the camera.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8196979625/" title="IMG_3399 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8203/8196979625_8f49d11d23.jpg" width="500" height="500" alt="IMG_3399"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8196976169/" title="IMG_3398 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8064/8196976169_15f88b738c.jpg" width="500" height="500" alt="IMG_3398"></a>


    I delight in the Tapado De Pesccado, a local specialty seafood stew, with coconut milk and plantains, served with coconut bread.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8196983525/" title="IMG_3400 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8061/8196983525_fd73fb84af.jpg" width="500" height="500" alt="IMG_3400"></a>

    Later that afternoon, sitting on the floor of the room I feel another little shake. I look at my location and think of Tsunamis, my mind seeing my bike washed into the ocean on ending up on a strange beach of another land. But the internet tells me another little earthquake has hit the south of Guatemala, on the pacific side, so at least for me I felt a little better. This time thankfully there was little damage.
    #93
  14. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Today was a tough day. It is one that I wouldn&#8217;t mind doing backwards. Started off with an early wake to heavy rain. What was I going to do next? Wait it out? Ride on?
    After falling back asleep I woke again to sunshine through the clouds. I packed up the bike and headed to the market for a breakfast on the street.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8191060425/" title="P1010321 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8338/8191060425_abc39a8ea4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1010321"></a>

    Just as I was leaving I met a man who had been sailing around central America but after sheltering in Rio Dulce after a hurricane, fell in love with the place. He saw the poverty and decided to stop and assist ... He and his wife- a nurse were setting up a clinic in the small impoverished squatters village beside the hot waterfalls I was about to visit. He told me of the plight of the people, their poverty, being unable to grow food on the best land as this was owned by cooperatives in the USA. Instead having to grow their maize high on the steep hills. He talked about the slash and burn techniques and the resulting problems of the jungle being cleared. He talked about the little village where they looked to set up a clinic, and the problems that resulted as the village was unable to expand physically, as they were all virtually squatting there, and the effects of this overpopulation. We talked about our plans, we talked about my profession in health, and that one day I would return to Mexico or Columbia&#8230;. My want to do aid work resurfacing in my mind. He asked me to stay, to come back after the falls and talk longer if I felt compelled, if I felt guilty and needed too do something. I left, my mind ticking over the plans that had laid in the back of my mind for years. The tuk in front of me was plastered with the face of "Che" Guevara. Motorcycle diaries replayed in my head&#8230;

    Taking my leave I headed off on the dirt tracks to the delightful hot waterfall at El Pradiso. Such a delight. Hot water pummeling down on my neck and back. The cool water below in which to cool off. Sublime setting. Delightful.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8191060787/" title="P1010322 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8488/8191060787_64ceacd8e7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1010322"></a>


    At noon I take leave of the water. Talking to one of the locals that had been minding my bike, he spoke some Spanish, 6 words of English he delighted in telling me- dog, bat, hat, were three of them. But his primary language was not Spanish but a local Mayan dialect, like many in the rural areas of Guatemala, and this was what the local children were speaking. That was why they did not understand my questions!

    I head onwards. The road gets worse. The rain starts up. The ground becomes a slippery boggy mess. I creep along at 20km per hour, on the good parts I speed up to 30km/ph. But then I feel like I am flying and the bike starts slipping and bumping all over the place.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8193786632/" title="IMG_3262 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8202/8193786632_17da93501d.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_3262"></a>


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8193785208/" title="Untitled by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8338/8193785208_59d33d4f33_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Untitled"></a>

    I drop the bike six times, at least twice at each lift up for there is nowhere to put my feet and the wheels are jammed with mud and the bike slips backwards. This is more than the total of the whole trip in one day. I am tired, I am hungry, and I guess a little dehydrated. I break both the indicators and a mirror hold. All the stickers on my pannier are scrapped off.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8193787270/" title="Untitled by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8060/8193787270_ff1cecd1a7_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Untitled"></a>

    The locals help me lift and re-lift the bike. At one point a motorcyclist behind me stops, help me lift the bike, then rides behind me for a while as I fall again again, the bike slipping backwards down the hill (an ongoing theme for today). His side stand is broken so he has to dump his own bike to help me. He passes, but waits for me as I catch up. We dance this way together for about an hour before he stops and wrings out his shirt at his friends house. I wave, yell &#8220;Gracias&#8221; and continue on. I still have a long way to go.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8192700695/" title="Untitled by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8349/8192700695_eeeb264593_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Untitled"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8192701699/" title="Untitled by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8487/8192701699_0cf411fa41.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Untitled"></a>

    Despite being really tired and challenged by the riding, I was actually having fun. I pulled into the service station and was happy that I could converse with the men without problems, talking about the road, my travels and the day. Its so nice to have more Spanish skills.

    It starts to get on in the day. I am soaked through. Not having put on my waterproofs as it is so warm. My visor left up and my head soaked. The puddles start getting bigger than any water crossing I have experienced. The water rising past my feet and covering me and the bike in its wake.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8193790582/" title="Untitled by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8350/8193790582_c252fbb0ef_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Untitled"></a>

    I slip again on a big hill just kilometers from my destination. The locals tell me to go back. The hill gets worse. &#8220;Catch a local cab to Semuc Champey in the morning. Don&#8217;t ride this, it too bad&#8221;. They tell me. But even the thought of trying to go down what I was trying to go up made me want to press on. I drop the bike again. &#8216;It is possible&#8217; I tell myself. The women look at me. &#8216;It is possible&#8217;. I try again and slip backwards. The mud so slippery I cant get up on my foot stands which I know I so need to do. Finally I make it and bomb my way down towards Champey pulling up next to a hostel right on dark.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8192703417/" title="Untitled by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8204/8192703417_25bc416e0f_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Untitled"></a>

    The local Guatemalan men at the hostel watch me with pleasure as I work on the bike in the evening. Cleaning of some of the caked on mud, lubing and tightening the chain. We speak in a mix of Spanish and English. Gluing up my indicators, but sadly the spare part for my broken mirror alludes me. I check the oil and I am pissed at BMW- 1000miles ago having serviced my bike, I did not check the oil after the service, and the levels are dangerously low. The men tell me how I can get into town tomorrow to buy more. I feel like an idiot for letting the oil go so low, but it was the last thing I expected after a recent service, when the bike never uses oil. The last time I had tried to check the cap was on so tight I needed a tool to get it off. But then got distracted and let it slip. Damn. I have three BMW services in the last 6000km. Not happy. Maybe this is how BMW Oaxaca stopped the oil leak? Take off the clutch cover, and not refill the oil! Compounding my poor riding skills over the day, and then this. I feel stupid.
    #94
  15. Cal

    Cal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    967
    Location:
    Calgary
    Hewby
    Once you get to Semuc Champey you will forget all about the bike naps. It is such a great place, just leave your bike and helmet with the guards at the gate and spend a few hours swimming in the most unique swimming hole in the world!:clap I dropped my f650 twice on that road, once on a grader burm going down hill and then again in the middle of one of those crazy 2 tracked cement hills, I was worried I would meet a bus coming down hill as I was going up. The center of those cement hill tracks is about 1 or 2 ft. deep:eek1
    Riding to Semuc is one of the great rides in Central America!
    Oh by the way the spark plug wrench in your tool kit fits the oil filler cap.
    #95
  16. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,422
    Location:
    Antigua , Guatemala
    I know the road from Rio Dulce to Semuc pretty well, doing it at the end of the rainy season is not easy at all.
    Well done :clap:clap:clap

    Lowering the air pressure substantially on these muddy roads helps a lot
    #96
  17. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,320
    Location:
    Banámichi, Sonora, Mexico
    Hewby, Think of what you have accomplished to this point. If you rode not another KM yo would have already made a fantastic journey. Don't sweat the small stuff. you are doing great.

    Bisbonian and Karen are coming down for a big US style Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Maybe we will put your ride report up on the big screen so everyone can see your fotos. Hang in there girl. And Neville and the boys are still here.
    #97
  18. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Thanks for the tip on the spark plug wrench Cal! And yes the swimming at Semuc was wonderful, I have to admit- I am a few days behind in my report as internet has been little to none for a week, and just getting on top of posting my writings now! :)
    #98
  19. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Thanks Julio, it was your advice that got me to the wonderful hot waterfall, and now the delightful company in Guatemala city in which I find safe haven and respite after a really tough week. Amazing people, and I have found a good friend in Petra. I am eternally grateful.

    And yes I need to remember to prepare for dirt and mud, even though mostly it catches me by surprise that it is there in the first place ( great planning skills as always!) and not just keep pushing on thinking it will get better soon!
    #99
  20. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Thanks Tom, and Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Have a drink for me!