9/01/2009 Travel Day crossing into Guatemala then onto Antigua. We left just before 9:00pm, went into town to get our laundry (14 lbs for only about $6.00), and then went to the mechanic that worked on Paco last time we were here in 2008. Isidro has a small shop just in back of the VW dealership. We found him and he was efficient and fair priced. He changed my broken rear shock, and CV joint, and adjusted the injection system. All this for under $300.00 and done in a day an hour before he said he'd be finished. That was such great service then, that we just had to come back and give him some kind of a thank you gift. Nate Jones, our good neighbor hood friend, and Long Beach Grand Prix, Garage Manager, gave us some posters, stickers and T-shirts, and Cap. Isidro just loved them and with my broken spanish apprecieated us remembering him. I told him about the new engine and our plans to visit South America. He wished us a Bien Viaje con Dios. We gave him our card. We felt good with a tear in our eye.
This Mexican Highway 190 to Comitan then to the boarder town of Cauaten, was rather slow because of Topes(speed bumps), and slow trucks. The crossing into Guatemala was surprisingly quick and straight forward. No stamps or any difficulty from the Mexican side was necessary? And the insect spraying, immigration permit, and import permit for Paco all took about a half hour total and only cost about $6.00 apiece. The officer that took care of us spoke perfect English and appreciated my effort to speak Spanish, Wow. Done by 1:30pm. John and Sharon were at the boarder just ahead of us. Since we were way ahead of schedule we decided to drive all the way to Antigua. About 200 miles. I figured that it would take Paco at least 5 hours to do it. We made great time, at 30mph at times up the hills and of course faster down hill. Up over 9 thousand ft passes. This highway Ca-1, is the Pan American and is a nice four lane autopista. I had fun playing leap frog with one of the Chicken buses, Guatelupe for about 2 hours. Whats a Chiken bus? These are the reconditioned buses that were used in the 70's or 80's up here in the states. They are painted and decorated colorfully. The one main feature of these buses is that they show no fear and cut in front of you with no regard, they will pass you with on coming cars and expect you to let them in at the last second. You can not win with these guys, so it is hard to just let them buy. Paco did a pretty good job of passing old Guadelupe up a few hills. But in the end, even after dropping off and picking up passengers Guadelupe was way ahead of us by the time we turned off to Antigua. I honked at Guadelupe evertime we passed. The driver gave me a final blast from his oversized horn the last time he passed. Welcome to Guatemala.
By 7:40 we were in Antigua trying to get to John and Sharons house. A little confusion on the one way road system in this Colonial town. They drove a bit faster than us in there Mercedes 350 SUV. They had arrived about an hour and a half ahead of us..
To sleep in a bed at John and Sharon's place was a real treat. After a small dinner, and a visit, we hit the sack...