C – We were up and at ‘em early this morning and it was lovely to see blue sky without any ominous grey clouds lurking about.
After a superbly delicious and cheap breakfast, we headed toward Coban. We had just set the GPS and within a few minutes it was clear the GPS was not taking the smartest way. The road quickly became gravel, well, potholes dribbled with gravel in between. Slowly the road became quieter and quieter. After reading the local newspaper at breakfast we both decided it was smarter to go back and take the main highway.
T – We were handed the local rag at the brekky table this morning. Front page feature was of a fatal car crash photo complete with bodies, then the next few pages in were all of people shot, run over, or just bashed into next week. Never read the local paper in Guatemala! The road the GPS wanted us to take was one of our ideal roads. Full of mud and water and rough as guts. But both of us became a little nervous once we had left all the traffic behind, so we decided to just stick to the main roads for now. It’s silly really and probably all just in our heads, but we need to be comfortable with what we are doing or we won’t enjoy it!
C – Guatemala quickly showed itself to be beautiful and the roads, although in varying states of repair, were fun to ride. The traffic moves slower here on the highway, actually at our pace mostly, although the driving is somewhat chaotic!!
T – The roads are a hoot and both of us were laughing and giggling all day. The ride went like this, speed bump, pothole, pothole, dog, speedbump, pothole, man on a bike, pothole, dog, dog, truck, child, dog and child in a pothole, pothole, stick, pothole, pothole, dog in a truck with a child on the back waving a stick at a man on a bike in a pothole that was in the middle of another pothole with a speedbump at both sides. It was brilliant! The fun curvy bits kept us entertained and the sudden appearance of bomb craters halfway around a corner kept us on our toes (and the brakes).
C – We were excited to reach the ferry crossing at Sayaxche. We watched a very small boat load itself full to bursting with motorbikes and although I am sure this boat was cheap and safe enough, we opted to take the bigger barge ferry.
T – 7 bikes were jammed into what can only be described as a two person canoe with an old underpowered, over revved 2 stroke outboard powering it up stream against the current. I really really wanted to take Mabel on that contraption! But the ferry ride itself proved to be fun and was powered by a few outboards hanging on the sides of the barge, each motor with its own driver working in tandem with the others to navigate the river.
C – After the ferry ride, we started to climb. I had to ride Rosie much easier than usual, to prevent the clutch slipping. So I was back at Mabels pace!
We climbed, climbed, climbed, with some gradients being so steep that I wondered whether our little girls would make it up in anything other than first gear. We did have one or two first gear climbs and many second gear climbs.
The towns we rode through were noisy and chaotic and reminded me so much Africa! Music blearing, rubbish everywhere, people everywhere, vehicles going everywhere, but the most prevalent being dogs everywhere. Two very nearly ended their lives in front us during the day.
When approaching one town, there was an older gentleman and two or three kids shovelling potholes. The kids screamed at each passing vehicle and as we went passed, they screamed and chased us, trying to grab at our bikes. We quickly realised that they wanted money, a ‘toll’ if you will, for shovelling the potholes. It wasn’t nice to have small kids chase the bikes – so many things could go this in this scenario.
Although the ride was only 250km it took us the best part of the day and we didn’t arrive at the hotel in Coban until 4.30pm.
We hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so headed straight out to find an early dinner. We found a small pizza place open at this early dinner hour and enjoyed some of the best pizza I have ever had!
The plan is to continue to head towards the lake and hopefully find a hotel to stay for Christmas Eve.