Is there any getting out of Guatemala? I think maybe not. Seven of us rode out on five bikes this morning around 9am heading for El Salvador. The morning was wet and humid but that was to be expected. The trip was exciting from the start, we were aiming for a beach town in Salvador about 250km away. My GPS (working again) had us getting there for 12pm, a nice short 3 hour ride.
It’s now 8pm and I’ve just booked into a hotel in back in Guatemala city a whole 40km away from the starting point of Antigua.
This trip sure is throwing some curve balls at me lately and today was no exception. First bit of excitement was the lack of a major bridge that should have been spanning a massive fast mud flowing river. No worries we thought we’ll just go another way, about 5 km up the other road there was another bridge missing. Third time lucky I guess, we found one up a dirt track and we were back on course in no time, that was until we got to the border and discovered another bridge out. The weather has been causing chaos and destruction to this area lately, all the rivers are flowing full force sweeping everything from there path. This time we had to detour through the mountains to another border crossing around 60km away. The roads were wet but the surface was good so we were making good time considering all the obstacles.
I was taking the lead at this stage with Andre who’s riding an African Twin following a close second. It had now stopped raining for the first time all day but the roads were still wet. Just as I rounded a corner riding at about 70kph a God dam mutt ran right out in front of me. I swerved to avoid it only to have it run out into my pathway again. This time I completely lost control of the bike. First I was skidding sideways at a 45deg angle with both wheels parallel sliding down the road to the right, then I was back up straight before fishtailing and now both wheels were in line sliding to the left. I was now on lying the tank hanging on with my legs and everything was a blur. I must have been skidding for about 10 seconds but it seemed a lot longer. The next thing I knew was I was winding the throttle fully back, It was like someone else had reached down and taken the controls and I was just along for the ride….It was either going to speed me into a barrier or get me out of the slide..thank’s be to God the latter worked! I finally regained my heart rhythm and control of my bike. I was so lucky to be on a great bike, anything else and I would have road rash all over for sure. That was the closest I’ve ever come to crashing without coming off. I’d hate to think what would have happened if there was any traffic coming the opposite direction.
Just then I glanced in my rear view mirror just in time to see Andre mimicking my every move. He had been riding a little too close and when I hit the brakes hard he had too as well. At one stage he looked like he might also recover but he wasn’t as lucky and ended up flying through the air leaving his bike too tumble down the road. I managed to get out of the way, turn around quickly and rush to his aid. His panniers had burst open from the impact leaving his tools and stuff were all over the place. First thing he did was to run to the aid of his bike without any concern for himself. He tried to lift his bike and the pain kicked in, only then did he realize he was hurt. His bike hasn’t faired too well I’m afraid, it ended up flipping and landing right down on the forks, completely ruining them and the front wheel. The whole back of the bike is also twisted, I’m thinking it cold be a total loss.
Within a few minutes the rest of our party arrived along with heaps of locals who seemed to have emerged from the bushes. The police were called so Andre could document the incident and would be able to make an insurance claim in the future. When they finally arrived they instructed us to go to the police station. A local guy in a pick up truck kindly stopped and offered his assistance. We managed to get the bike into the truck with the help of everybody around and take it to the police station so a report could be filled out. When we got there we were told to go to another station. Finally Andre was told if he didn’t stop bothering them he would be locked up and we had to leave without a report.
I had called my friend Juan in Guatemala city and we had arranged to meet on the outskirts about 100km away. The local guy with the pick up truck agreed to bring the bike to the city for a price and after three more hours of rain we arrived cold and soaked. Juan and Ivan brought us to a bike shop that will look after the bike and try to fix it. Andre has hurt his right shoulder and left foot but in true adventure rider spirit is planning to ride on. Just on what, yet needs to be decided.
Sorry for the lack of picture’s lately, it’s been raining so hard there’s been no point taking any.