Antigua – Panajachel – Mexico – Panajachel

luckily for the adventures sake Antigua doesn’t have a beach, if it did I think I could be held up there for some time. I ended up staying 5 days and nights, eating in a lot of cafe´s and drinking in a lot of bars. Well,  there was a lot of Rugby on. Its a great little town but the adventure must go on.

I dragged myself away early Sunday morning accompanied by my Guatemalan friends and their wives, Mark and Maggie the people I´d met already on a remote beach in Mexico along with Wade ,Phil and Rieika. We headed for the lake side town of Panajachel .Its a beautiful place surrounded by volcanoes and mountains. We had a swim in lake Titilan before retreating to Jaun and Gabbi lake side pool to warm up. The pool is heated by thermal water which is hot enough to burn. Everywhere else people have to heat their water but here you have to cool it. After lunch we bid our fair wells to Juan, Ivan, Gabbie and Ceci our Guatemalan friends along with Mark and Maggie who had to return to Antigua to learn some Spanish.

The next morning Phil, Reiki, Wade and myself left for the Mexican border at 6 am sharp. If you remember we crossed over into Guatemala in little boats and never cleared our bikes from customs in Mexico or never entered them into Guatemala either. If we didn´t clear them from Mexico it will cost us, they already have a bond of 400$ per bike and they´ll hit the credit cards every week the bikes are in the country over six months.

The ride was only 250 km but took 4 hours, It was a nice morning’s ride and beautiful scenery surrounded us. When we reached the border we explained to immigration and customs on each side what had happened when we crossed. They agreed to let us cross without doing and paper work whatsoever which was a pleasant surprise. Before we knew it we were in Mexico and heading for customs in a town about 20km away. The place wasn’t too easy to find and we sweated in the mid day heat of 34 degrees, Guatemala averages about 22 at the moment. When we found customs we were sent someplace else of course right across town. It was a fairly painless procedure though and we were back at the border about an hour later. The barrier on the Mexican side was up and the guys with the guns were facing the other way so I rode straight through. The rest quickly followed and we were  soon across the bridge , back in Guatemala. While trying to dodge customs on this side we were caught and  stopped by a barrier. We had to go through the pocess of entering the bikes, pay the ¨fee¨ photocopy this and that but it was also painless enough.The people here are friendly and help when they can. 

Just as we were leaving the heavens burst down upon us and we were drenched through in no time. We had a four hour ride ahead of us so continued on slowly. It´s hard riding in the rain here as all the potholes fill up with water and you cant see them, dogs seem to come out of nowhere and visibility is down to about 40 meters the rain’s so heavy. We decided to take a different route back after stopping for breakfast/lunch about 2 pm. There was a shortcut through the mountains on a pothole with the odd bit of road, it was 50km as apposed to 200km on the main route. Of course the mountain road sounded more adventurous and dangerous so we took it.

It was rough for the first 10 km but after that it was a joke. It was easily the worst road I’ve ever ridden. The surface was covered in slippery rocks, there were massive drop off´s to the sides, the road was washed away in parts and it was so steep in places just getting up and down was extremely dangerous and difficult….. we were loving it.

I had my first crash of the trip about 40km in. I got the front wheel stuck in a rut and ended up flying off the bike into a ditch. Phil thought it hilarious and frankly so did I. Just then a local came out of the bushes and informed us the road is blocked up ahead by a river. With the amount of rain we’ve being having here,  I wasn’t too surprised. We didn´t have much further to go in that direction but we had no choice but to return the way we’d come and then tackle the 200km extra on top. It was now getting dark so we quickly turned around a started to head back. After about a minute I noticed my bike was sliding around more than usual. When I looked down I realized my front tire was flat.

Just then the heavens erupted like the volcano we were riding on once must have. I rode the bike in between a few trees with giant leaves and we prepared to fix it. We had only set out for a short days ride today so we had left all our gear in our hotel back at the lake. Luckily Wade had a little compressor and puncture repair kit. We attempted to pump the flat but it was no good, the beed had come away from the edge and needed a mighty blast of air to get it back in position. It was now fully dark and pissing rain. The nearest village was about a km away luckily enough so I had no choice but to ride there on the now ice like muddy rock’s.

The village consisted of a church and a brick hut that doubled as the local shop. I asked the owner if he’d look after the bike for the night while we returned to the lake to pick up my spare tube  I should have been carrying all along. He agreed and off we set, me now doubling on the back of Wade’s bike on the worst road known to man. About 6 km down the track we came to another village and I spotted a tire repair place with a giant compressor.We unloaded the bikes of what little gear they had and Wade and Phil headed off back to remove my front wheel and bring it back. One of the boys had a stack going down the track but luckily was alright. That was number ten for him. The other guy was delighted and no sympathy was offered. They have a competition  going on between them too see who’ll have the least falls on the trip. I wont tell you whose loosing.

They returned about an hour later with my front wheel after having to make up tools to get it off in the first place. We were well prepared for sure. It was hooked up to the compressor but still wouldn’t go up, the rim was damaged when I hit a speed bump in Mexico and it wouldn´t allow the beed to slip over it. Wade had an idea to spray wd40 on it and  thank you god up it went. There was no holes it had just deflated when I crashed. We rode back again leaving Reika alone with every man in this tiny village. On the way we almost fell off again going down hill but between the two of us we were able to hold the bike and stay on. Just in case I got off a walked for a bit . I reassembled the bike in front of the entire community, we said our goodbyes, went back, picked up Reiki and headed back along this dirt track to the main road full of holes. It took us another three and a half hours riding through the mountains avoiding holes, dogs and trucks in the pissing rain.  All I was dreaming whilst riding in the cold, soaked wet was of having a nice hot shower.  We  finally pulled into the lake side village just before midnight to find the place in total darkness, our hotel had no power and no running water. No showers tonight, the perfect end to the perfect day…..still loving every minute

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5 Responses to Antigua – Panajachel – Mexico – Panajachel

  1. Liam McILhone says:

    These are the days that must happen to you” Walt Whitman knew a thing or two!

    If any consolation I am really enjoying blog

    Keep smiling 🙂

  2. KevOK says:

    Hey Liam , its an adventure every min of it and I´m loving it all.

  3. Ivan says:

    Hi Kevin! I was following the Spot from Wade & Phillip and call Juan, we where wondering where the hell were you there was no road on the map!!! Glad the day ended up all right.

  4. Di says:

    I would have started crying, gave up and started drinking. Probably why I’m sitting here reading your blog and you’re living it 🙂

    • KevOK says:

      it’s strange what you can do when you have to Di, looking back now it was a great day but at the time anywhere else would have been better.

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