Voyage to South America travel blog


September 6, 2005

I left Antigua at little late (1:00) yesterday but the weather was sill good. I had to take care of some shit before I could leave. I made some calls/emails and I also went to a private hospital to see if they could hook me up with a MRI machine in Guatemala. I have the address and will go there when I go to the city to get the suspension rebuild (front and rear).

The ride out of Antigua lasted two hours then it started to pour. I really wanted to make it to Totos Santos today but that is NOT going to happen.

I rode in the rain for about ½ an hour and I ended up staying at a village called Chichicastenango. There are about 50k people living there. It’s actually supposed to be a fairly nice village. I didn’t get a chance to explore.

I was really wet and miserable so I got a tout to show me a hotel. He was wearing what looked to be a tourist information outfit on so, ‘I thought what the hell’. Reading the bible the next morning I was dismayed to find out that this a popular rouse in this village to get unsuspecting tourists to stay at ‘their hotel’, so that the owner of the hotel will give the tout some mordida. I must be soooo stupid to fall for this yet again. I am blaming me being cold and wet for my lack of judgment.

I could have had a job at a tout in Athens, Greece about 20 years ago but declined. Normally, I spot these guys a mile away and make a few jokes with them and move on. I ended up going with this guy and ended up staying at a shit hole for Q100/night. There was a good restaurant down the street so I ate there for lunch/diner and had breakfast there in the morning as well.

I left Chichicastenango about 8:30 and arrived in Huehuetenango around 1pm. It was a beautiful ride and the weather was good the whole way. So much so that everything had dried including my gloves. However, I could see clouds forming in the distance so I decided to stay here for the night even thought Totos Santos was only about an hour away.

This is the third time I have been to Huehue and I always stay at the same place, ‘Hotel Oro Verde’. It’s Cheap Q100 (TV, parking and my own bano w/ hot water) and the young guys love me. I showed them the route Cara and I took and they were amazed. I showed them the route I planed on taking for the next 10 days or so and they thought it too was going to be cool. They asked about the chica and I told them she had to go back to Canada.

Early tomorrow, weather permitting, I will make my way to Totos Santos. I have to ask about the road conditions. Nothing will be paved and on the TransAmerica there were a lot of derrumbes so I am safe to assume that there will be a lot more that lay ahead. Bring it on. New rubber and a light (er) bike. However, I can really feel the front end. The only thing that is working is the spring – all the oil is gone. That blows!

I am thinking about buying a BMW F800. The cost is about CAD$13,000 plus another CAN$7,000 for up grades for overland travel. The F800 is 100lbs lighter, SAME hp as Electra and has better off-road head tube angles. The only downfalls are that I know Electra intimately and it would be hugely disrespectful to not continue with her. She has been a good companion. Some downfalls with the F800 is that it is new and has not proven it’s self as a reliable overland bike, I don’t now how the bike handles, it’s chain driven, I will have to carry chain lube, it’s liquid cooled and the tyres are not tubeless. One of the biggest bonuses is that when I buy different sprockets sizes is that it alters the gearing. Electra’s first gear is way too tall for serious off road. I find myself riding the clutch to get in and out of tight spots. I could give a shit about top speed. 100 - 110kph tops is fine for me; the ability to alter maybe the final selling feature. I just have to read up on what the correct sprocket sizes to use for the type of riding I am doing (torque vs. HP). Then there is the problem of getting the F800 to Central America and Electra home. This is minor. I would not nor could not sell or trade her in.

When I left Antigua I wanted to ride light. I left a lot of gear at the hostel; Louis Posada II. My road tyres, my dry bag and some books and some other none essential shit. I can JUST squeeze everything in to the saddle bags. Just! My Tevas (very stinky) however I strap to the back of the bike. The road from Chichicastenango to Huehue is a lot of tumoles, more than I have ever seen. And you guessed it, I lost a Teva. FUCK!!!! This sucks royally. It was my own fault. I always tie my Tevas together with a carabineer and lock it to one of the tie downs except for this one time. The straps were still there sans the Teva with the carabineer.

When I arrived in Huehue I walked around the market for one hour looking for a pair of flip flops. I finally found a pair for Q20. They suck. I am not used to having shit between my toes. Camel toe - foot style. And on top of that they are so slippery in the rain so I might as well be wearing nothing. I should have brought the dry bag for shit I buy along the way. Cause now I have no room for jack shit.

I have been on the road for 335 days so far sans the 85 days I spend back in Canada and in Florida. Really is been 250 days and I have lost, thus far; two pairs of prescription glasses, ½ pair of Tevas, 1 pair of prescription sunglasses, a bracelet that I bought in India, several ½ pairs of earrings, a battery charger for my waterproof/shock proof point and shoot camera, and the worse of all myself respect and my fiancé. The must be more but I can’t think of it right now. Oh yeah, and my physical health is not as good as when I left. When Cara was here she told me that, “You’re really kinda wimpy.” That sucked, but it’s true. Blah!

It is now 9:00pm and raining very hard. I hope I can make it through the route I have chosen. From here it is all dirt.

Tomorrow I can’t forget to buy a liter of 20w50 oil. Upon initial observations the heat tape for the exhaust doesn’t seem to be working. When I take Electra to the shop to get her suspension rebuilt I am going to get the head bolts re-tourqed. Maybe there is a small leak thus heating things up pre-maturely. Who the fuck knows.



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