Sun, March 9th: The ride from Chichicastenango to
Antigua was wonderful mountain twisties that stretched the 122km ride into 2.5
hours. I was having so much fun, I even ran out of gas! We arrive in Antigua just as the
sun disappears, and quickly find a place our German friends stayed in. The Jardin Bavaria
was a restaurant/pub with a few rooms out back. We only stayed here 1 night, but the food
Mon, March 10th: Changed to another hospedaje, wandered around Antigua,
enjoying the warm colonial city, and catching up on email. We are at 1,600 meters
daytime is hot wearing shorts and t-shirt, but the evenings cool down to light fleece and
Tues, March 11th: We drive from Antigua to the capital Guatemala
City. We quickly make our way to the Zona 9 and a small (private) BMW workshop. Carlos,
the owner, contacted us months ago and offered to meet us and help us any way he could. He
only got into motorcycling a few years ago, but has already owned 35 bikes (currently has
5). He fell in love with BMW, and set up a workshop with full-time mechanic who works on
all the new model bikes. He is also the Central America importer for Wunderlich
accessories, Metzeler tires, and Hit-Air protective jackets (air bags for motorcyclists)
the website is: www.ogrismoto.com
Fri, March 14th: It was only 147kms from Antigua
to the west side of Lago Atitlan, but the winding mountain roads and beautiful scenery
made the going comfortably slow. We stopped for lunch at a Mirador (lookout) restaurant at
2,400 meters, and although the clouds were low, we had spectacular views. The last 20kms
were off-road, with the final 2kms being quite technical and downhill. We arrived in San
Pedro in mid-afternoon, quickly found a hotel on the edge of the lake. We showered and
changed, then sat on our balcony and watched life go by on the lake and streets below. San
Pedro is the new hippie-haven it makes for a very interesting mixture of local
weavings and bright colors, combined with tie-die and scraggly hair.
Sat, March 13th: We bought breakfast on the street a loaf of fresh
banana bread from a little old woman, then climbed the hill to the liquado stand for a
fresh fruit shake. Our favorite was the blackberry/banana with milk. Cost was Q5 for the
loaf, and Q3 each per shake, for a total of Q11 ~ less then $1.50! Spent the day wandering
around the village, taking in the views and enjoying the serenity and pace of the village.
Later we found several great restaurants, many with free movies -- Good idea since the
late afternoon rained into the night.
Sunday, March 16th: Got up early, had our breakfast of fresh banana bread
and fruit shake, and caught the boat to Panahachel on the other side of the lake. There
are lots of little lanchas, water taxis that ferry people around to the 12+ small
villages surrounding the lake. Pana, as the locals call it, is the original hippie
haven-gone upmarket. It has the biggest souvenir market around so we decided to check it
out. We didnt buy anything but it made for a pleasant morning detour.
We returned to San Pedro later in the day the water became quite choppy, and the
30-minute ride was a bit hard on the kidneys and bum. Before dark, we strolled through the
alleys and small paths, ending up at another movie/meal deal. Just before the movie
started, another biker we met the week before, Steffen, came in along with yet another
biker named Paul. Paul, an American from Seattle, is on doing an Alaska to Ushuaia trip on
a KLR. Of course we couldnt resist spending the rest of the evening with these two
swapping stories and information.
Mon, March 17th: Happy St Patricks Day! A final street breakfast with
Steffen and Paul, then we headed northwest around the lake towards Huehuetenango, 145kms
away. Its a gorgeous winding ride on a good paved road up and over the mountains,
just to leave San Pedro! The road connects to the main highway and we are on your way. The
wind is blowing a gale and kicking up red dirt into the sky, like a blanket of smog
obstructing what would be a wonderful view. When we leave San Pedro we are wearing several
layers of clothes to keep warm. By the time we arrive in Huehue (pronounced way-way),
its hot again and we are dripping with sweat. Find a cheap hotel with parking and do
the walk-about around town.
Tue, March 18th: Decide to do a morning ride up to El Mirador and the
plateau in the direction of Todos Santos. For the first time in nearly 4 years, we lost
each other! I stopped to take some pictures while Erin drove on to the mirador. The
signage was a bit dodgy, and when I got up to the lookout area, Erin wasnt there.
There was a pyramid monument about 3 meters high and 5 meters wide in the center of the
small parking area. I swung around and headed further up the mountain to reach Erin. After
a few kilometers, I was wondering where she disappeared to usually, she drives
slower and waits for me to catch up. After about 5 kms, I stop and ask the locals if
another bike had passed. Yup, about 5 minutes before! I figured Erin was heading to a
place on the GPS we thought the mirador would be, about 10kms further. We were on a
plateau about 3,400 meters high, and the road wound around the small hills. When I finally
got to the junction, I asked some other locals if a bike had passed. Yup, about 10 minutes
ago. I decided it was time for some clarification, and cleverly tried to ask questions
that required specific answers.
What color was the jacket?
What color was the bike?
He pointed and said "Bike just like yours"
Just like this one?
I zoomed off the road was very windy where is she?!?! I eventually
caught up to a small moto with 2 guys on it. This was 25 km from the Mirador. I
waved to them and they slowed down.
Did you see a motorbike pass you?
How long have you been on this road?
"About 30 minutes"
I screeched to a stop. OhmyGod what happened to her? Is she lying in a ditch off
the side of the road?!?! I returned to the junction, and asked the guy a simple question
How many people were on the bike?
Ach! As I started to pull away, thinking for sure Erin is in a ditch (or worse), I see
her approaching up the road whew!!
Apparently, she had missed the turn for the Mirador. As she was turning around to
return to the Mirador, she looked down and saw me enter the driveway. She circled the
monument and parked. And there you have it the comical driving around an obstacle,
not very large, but large enough with the timing just right
After a good laugh, and another stop (together) at the Mirador, we returned to the
hotel around 10:30am, packed the bikes, and headed to the Mexican border.