Central America Part 1 (Guatemala, Honduras)

Comitan de Dominguez, Chiapas to Panachel, Guatemala (340km)
Matt, Brayden and I left on our bikes in the morning and have been at the border to Guatemala after one hour. After Canada, USA now I say Bye-Bye to Mexico, already !
Great hospitality, food, history and I met old and new friends, former and future colleagues. Mexico I will come back !

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Border crossing to Guatemala took regular 2 hrs. We met a bunch of other people on bikes on the border. They had issues with getting a 17 year old on the motorcycle into Guatemala, since you need to be 18 to ride motorcycle here. That boy already had seen the world at the age of 17. I wonder if he had been at school ever. My tore worries me a bit. Can’t help the front one is down. But why the front one … ?
Riding in Guatemala was fine and 80km after the border we had a short break for some cold drinks. The road and countryside was very nice and far Better than expected. A girl selling Coca Cola was getting a far to high price out of me and I thought “Good lesson that early to be careful”.

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Climbing from 1500m altitude to 3500m and back, up and down, sometimes two lanes per direction, just a great riding day. Actually it was und in and above the clouds. Really felt like free here, no traffic since Sunday and very good riding. Also I enjoyed the company of Matt and Brayden. We have similar humor, Matt and I.
Panachel is located at the Attitlan lake and has a touristic area with a lot of restaurants. Matt and I have been basically (not saying literally) trying every food stand on that main street. We had a great tasting time and Brayden could almost not believe how much we can eat. Just a perfect day !

Panachel, Guatemala to Antigua Guatemala (110km)
Everyone talked so much about Antigua and how nice it is. Well the place didn’t rock me that much. The ride to here however was great. I left with matt and Brayden and some 25km later stopped for picture taking and thought I find them again. 300m later there was a crossing with 5 options and i haven’t had my GPS programmed. I started to navigate with the sun, like heading south. Soon the road went really spectacular and i thought I will tell matt and Brayden stories in how what a great road I found. At a big water crossing, the bridge was gone, and I found them. I navigated exactly by looking at the sky like Matt with his GPS. Funny. Matt already had his motorbike on the other side, hit a rock under water however. He was on the way walking back through the water to go for her motorbike when I arrived. I crossed nicely and then Matt with the 2nd motorbike also. Then a Russian couple arrived on a rental car. They changed seats so that she was driving through. Very cool ! And so many days of great riding in one row.

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Coming back to Antigua, the city was hit many times by big earthquakes. So some old churches have been rebuilt, some others not. We talked to the owner of the Hotel (who let us park in the lobby) for 1.5 hrs and his neighbor. We learned a lot about “Maya Football”, the history of Guatemala and the many languages they speak under the roof of speaking Spanish. Good country and good people in Guatemala.

Antigua Guatemala, to Guatemala City, Gutemala (50km)
Short ride to the capital. Main reason was to meet BMW Motorcycles for some parts for Matt and tires for me. It worked and they have had tires at reasonable price. Great I thought.

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I asked if they can mount them on my motorbike. They said “Yes, extra cost but no problem. Bring the motorbike in!” I did and then they said “But its not a BMW, we can’t do it!” I pleased them to do it, since technically they could. Then they did. Lucky me, and Thank BMW Guatemala for that favor. 10min later, they came down with my front break pads and said “They are done, what do we do?”. I said “There is no Triumph in Guatemala, what are my options?”. They said “Triumph is 2 km away.” If i knew that I would have gone there and not beg at BMW for help.
Matt went off with his motorbike and got through the traffic and got the brake pads for me. At 4Pm we have been set with everything and left. Couldn’t get far o we choose a hotel nearby. Met Devish who should be on the boat to Colombia and who joined us next morning.
The owner of the hotel was a good guy and drove us to a bank to get cash because it should be to dangerous to travel.
Guatemala City as good service stop, but not much else to get is my conclusion.

Guatemala City, Guatemala to Copan Ruinas, Honduras (360km)
Levaing in the morning with four bikes in Guatemala City, it was raining, doesn’t mean we arrive together on the same spot and the same time. Some km after we left I overtook the other 3 bikes to take some pictures of them. Soon later they arrived and so I got some shots. Did the same again but they never showed up. I lost them because they navigated well, where I didn’t. I went back to the spot where I saw them the last time but haven’t found them. Then I continued till the border, had fund and my soul was jumping and so was my rotational-speed sensor (dt. Drehzahlmesser), but they haven’t been there… I wondered what happened and talked to the guys on the border. They asked me where I want to go and then I understood that “Copan Ruinas” and Copan are two different places and that I am at the wrong border crossing. I thought I was right choosing not to go to San Salvador, but that Honduras had two crossings close to each other was where I was thinking wrong. So the border patrol gave me a nice map at as a gift and said, if I cross there it will take me 3.5 hours on a bad road and if I turn round I make it in 1.5 hours on a good road. So I did. Total wrong distance was 110km.
When I reached the border I met the other three that have just finished their border crossing in the last 3 hours. They where happy to see me and that I am ok. So was I. They left for Copan Ruinas and I started my border procedures. I was fast, like 1.5 hours. However in my customs process in Honduras there was a little delay. When I left the customs for paying, the officer started to do 6 tons of potatoes. So they unloaded the truck and loaded the truck with 8 guys. When they where finished, she stamped my documents and I was done, in 5min. So I could have done it faster and without the potatoes. But I was still quick. The others had found a hotel, so finding mine was easy since I took the same. Shower and dinner. A good day.
Countries rush … 3 days ago in Mexico, then Guatemala and now Honduras already. … My passport will be full by the end of this trip.

Copan Ruinas, Honduras to Gracias Honduras (150km)
A blessed day have started, but we did not know by then yet. The four of us left Hotel to look at the ruinas of “Copan Ruinas”. A great place to visit. Old pyramids from the Maya and a great park, that gives a feeling how life was then. We went underground to some tunnels. A good place to visit.

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We came back by 11am to the hotel, took our gear and left. I was in front. I drove aside to put my rain gear in soon after. I gave sign that I catch up with the others down the road. So they rode on.
After 5 min I left and found Matt and Brayden less than 2km down the road. Devish left and was ahead since he had his rain gear on from the beginning. We rode, enjoyed the roads and overtook many vehicles. It is absolutely normal to overtake anybody (trucks cars and whoever is in the road) on speed bumps. And on one it happened that one motorbike fell down right in front of me. We have been lucky that only the motorbike was damaged. We fixed what we could aside of the road and left 2 hrs later. We made it to a nice hotel in “Gracias” (the place is called like that [Thank you in Spanish] and had a double meaning for us that day. We had a good dinner and slept well. A blessed day.

Gracias Honduras to Danli, Honduras (370km)
We woke up and we fixed the bike. I t went incredible well and after 2 hours and at 10:30am we have been back on the road.
We have been looking for a “Ferreteria” (dt. direkt: Eisnerei, also Blechbatscherei/Dengler) to fix the boxes and we have been lucky. A hop was giving us new tools from the show room to use them, since they haven’t had used tools. Hammer, jag, screw driver…. After all we said how much we owe them and they said “No, nothing, safe travel !”. matt and I felt bad so he bought some 4 Coca cola and gave it to the two girls and two man who helped us and they have been happy. And we too.

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Matt navigated, like always, and he choose some adventure today. We took a 35km road that was white on the map, means no asphalt and gravel (dt. Schotter). What we found have been mud, washouts, sand, gravel, trees crossing the street and a lot of FUN !!! (see the pictures). It took us 1.5 hours instead on 30minutes, but it was good and fun. It took us some time but we enjoyed it. ADV-Riding ! (Adventure Riding)

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After we carefully rode to Danli in the evening. We had some issues finding a hotel, but found one like one hour later. We had a good dinner and a good rest.