October 6th, 2005
Great night sleep, the Radisson is a class hotel. The prince and princess of Japan are staying here also talk about feeling safe. Pretty much stayed in the room today one of the things I have not talked about is I got bit by something in Mexico on the left shin didnít feel any thing canít see and thing but its been getting redder and more sore each day. When I was in Belize I stopped by the on island health clinic she gave me two different kind of pills, the pills are gone and it sure isnít looking to good so I had the front desk find an English speaking doctor and have him come up my room. Dr. Jose Moreno came by and said I had an abbess and I needed to take some antibiotics, and go have it lanced in the morning so it could drain. He made an appointment for me at noon. I am going to have an El Salvador police officer take me. Looks like one more day in El Salvador, I am not going to travel until I get the ok. Just going to take it easy tonight.
October 7th, 2005
Had the abbess lanced, shot hurt like hell, I was surprised how much ďstuffĒ came out, and I have a pretty good size hole in my shin right now. Just stayed at the hotel and took it easy. I have an appointment with him in the morning and heís going to look at it and see if itís ok to travel, he knows Iím on a motorcycle and will do what he says. Oh yes almost forgot, we had a pretty good little earthquake this morning while waiting to go see the doctor, no damage or any thing but shook us pretty good for about ten seconds.
October 8th, 2005
Met up with the Doctor first thing this morning, he cleaned the wound, said it looked good and that it was ok to travel, as long as I kelp cleaning it and putting on the antibiotics. Packed the bike and was met outside the hotel by a squad and 3 officers that told me they were going to escort me as far as San Miguel where we were to meet another officer to escort me all the way to the border. I was touched. I know their intentions were good, but they sure drive to damn slow, for some reason they would not go over 45mph, we had a good road ahead of us, maybe it was because there were still a few mudslides but added about an hour to the trip. Now the trip from San Miguel to the border is another story. I was passed off to two motor cops and letís just say the sprint from San Miguel to the border was very fun and interesting! It cost $3 USC to Leave El Salvador. It was a bit confusing; you have to turn your paperwork in for your vehicle about a mile before the border, the motor cops thought this was just a roadblock so we went around it, so we had to turn around and handle all the vehicle paperwork. At least I didnít have to stand in line. As one of the smartest men I know always says ďSometimes itís good to be a copĒ I remember Grant saying that sometimes itís best to grab one on the locals at the border, let him help you with the crossing, then tip him a few bucks. Going into Honduras seemed like a good place to try this. Found someone that spoke broken English and off we went. Customs for El Salvador and Honduras are right next to each other, one window then the next, this was the first time this happened and made it very easy. Next we had to work on the paper work on the bike, this is where the kid started to do a lot of fast talking, and as I parked the bike he pointed to some fat guy standing there and said he better watch your bike, lot of thieves around. We went inside an office and after 30 seconds or so I looked out side and the fat guy was no where to be seen, I could tell every thing was still on the bike so I stood there and watched it as some lady filled out some paper work. Like I said before the kid was doing a lot of fast talking showing me paper work saying this one is $30, this one is $55, etc. All adding up to about $ 95. I said bullshit, should have seen the hurt look on his face because I thought he was trying to screw me. After 2-3 minutes of him trying to convince me he was not trying to screw me I said I was going to start over, go back over to El Salvador and get someone else to help me. So I did just that! As luck would have it I ran into an American that lived in Honduras so to make a long story short it cost me about $35 USC to get my permit for the bike and I was gone. I just waved and smiled to the kid as I drove past with my permit. Drove about an hour into Honduras found a clean hotel and called it a night.
October 9, 2005
Got a nice early start in the morning, no rain so far but I know Iím going to get wet to. Cleaned the wound this morning before I left, look pretty good, I am going to keep a close eye on it. Roads are pretty good made good time to Nicaragua. Cost $4 bucks to leave Honduras, glad to be out of this county, it was very beautiful riding but every time I stopped I felt like I was about to get screwed. Going into Nicaragua was very organized only took about 15 minutes for customs and vehicle, cost $7 bucks to enter Nicaragua but make sure you have the correct change, I handed him a $10 and he didnít even look up, up it in a drawer and I guess forgot about the change. I was not going to make a fuss over $3. Nice roads in Nicaragua except coming into and going out of Rivas, the roads are pretty bad; when you leave Rivas you have about 15 miles of very bad road before you hit any good stuff. Leaving Nicaragua was just as easy, making sure I had the correct change (youíre only going to get me once) it only cost $3 bucks. Going into Costa Rica they make you buy insurance for $18, donít know what itís good but if it makes them happy so be it! USC. Roads started out pretty good, but right outside of Liberia they turn pretty bad, raining petty hard, bad roads, and going to get dark, got a room, didnít make San Jose like I wanted, but still got in a good ride today.
October 10, 2005
Costa Rica is very pretty; they cut a road right into the jungle. Like most of this trip I have seen some beautiful sights, I only wish I could stop and take some pictures, you have to understand, there is blacktop or crushed stone then jungle, no where to pull off and the roads are so winding that I donít dare just stop in the roadway for a picture. South of San Jose you start a pretty good climb, again itís raining but the road are good the climb takes you up and out of the clouds blue sky and sunny go figure. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the jungle, not only is the vegetation so thick you canít see past the first row , when you look up itís more the same, it just doesnít end. I donít know what this one plant is but the leaves are bigger then a garbage can lid, very cool. I donít know what the altitude was here but the ride down the mountain just amazed me, it just never ended! I would say it was a steady 45 minutes of down hill, of course back into the clouds and rain. What was spooky is when you looked to your left you couldnít see any thing but clouds, but you knew it was a good fall, it just looked like the earth stopped there, end of road, drop off, clouds. At the border is cost $6 for the visa to enter Panama, $1 for an immigration stamp, and $1 for fumigation, at least they sprayed the bike this time, I just wish they would have used some soap with the water they sprayed, my bike sure needs a good washing! Best roads yet! There are a few bad spots but you can tell they are working on them, in fact they are building a toll booth about 30 miles into Panama. Spent the night about 65 miles outside of Panama City, figured it would be cheaper, room was $11.
October 11th, 2005
First thing I did when I got to Panama City was to find the airport, once it found I went looking for Girag Air Cargo, the directions I got off the web site were right on, found it no problem, talked to George and was advised that the bike could go out tomorrow afternoon, stopped back at the airport, booked a flight to BogotŠ ($241 USC), and got a room near the airport.
October 12th, 2005
Got to Girag Air Cargo right at 8, was told I had to disconnect the battery and empty the gas tank, I knew about the gas so I kept it low didnít have to fool with it (they never checked it anyway) Disconnected the battery pushed inside and hope to see it in BogotŠ in the morning. Got a ride from Girag to the airport by the President of Girag Air Cargo. We talked about the trip, where I was going, and how I was going. He told me he was on a later flight but was going to BogotŠ today. He said if I didnít mind waiting the 2 extra hours that he would give me a ride to where I had to pick the bike up and introduce me to the people I had to see. What else was did I have to do there, so I told him no problem. He showed up right on time, took me over to where I had to pick up the bike then offered me the apartment (no charge) they keep here in BogotŠ for employees that have to spend the night. Sure hope I will be able to sleep tonight with this horseshoe up my ass. So Iím sitting in this very nice apartment typing this, they did tell me not to go outside past darkÖÖ.like I was going to!! I will fill you in how it goes in the morning.
(New paragraph for Patti) Since I have some time to kill I thought I would reflect on the part of the trip I just finished. Central America what an experience beside what you have read so far let me write about some of the things I didnít write about. I explained why I didnít get to take the pictures I would have like to but one of the things I would have liked to have started a picture collection of the different road signs. I saw caution signs warning of herds of cows, sheep and goats, and for good reason I ran into every one of them, just walking down the middle of the road, sometimes you would have to stop until they got out of the way. They like to use the side of the road to graze these animals, you take a curve and there right next to the road, is a cow, goat, horse or sheep. Took me a while to figure it out but at least for the cows and horses were tied up. Not so for the others, twice I had to drive around a herd of goats sleeping on the road. I stilled show a lot of caution when I saw the cows and horses, the rope didnít always hold as was evident by the dead ones with 15-20 buzzards covering them with another 20 flying overhead, it was a good wake up call. Another sign you saw a lot were people walking. There were always people walking on the road, young and old, to where or from where I have no clue I didnít see any place they were going or coming from or any paths leading from the road, and they all were carrying loads that I know would make me cry, my hats off to themÖÖ.how spoiled are we!!! I think my favorite sign was a caution of snakes ahead, I donít know about any one else but if there is a snake in the road the buzzards have an appetizer. They do use the horse and mules a lot here. I think its neat to see the caballeros work the herds (even if its down the middle of the road) or the pack mules loaded with wood, bananas, even saw one carrying a can of milk on each side.
One of the things I wanted to take a picture of is a cemetery , but I didnít want to seem disrespectful of offend anyone, heheh I know for those that know me that might come as a shock to you but Iím not in my back yard soÖ.. The cemeteries here are hard to explain, they just donít put up grave markers like we do in the states they have these huge crosses on top of what looks like a dog house or they have fences with all kinds of decoration, you really have to see them to believe them.
All in all Central America was a very good eye opener for me. A great experience and a look into what is to come. On one hand it sure makes me glad I was born in the USA, yet on the other hand it shows how spoiled and ungrateful for what we do have. We whine about the gas prices, yet we still drive those big SUVís that get 10 miles to the gallon. We bitch about the how bad are roads are, you donít know bad until you driven 10 miles on their best roads Itís no wonder every one has such a bad opinion about us, as much as I hate to say it we deserve it. Where the hell did this soap box come from?? Thanks for reading, until next time.
October 13th, 2005
Got to Girig Air Cargo first thing in the morning, had to walk over to customs to fill out the paper work for the bike. The form is now in English so only took 5 minutes to fill out, they came over looked at the bike and was done with-in 30 minutes. The roads are very good for the most part in Colombia. It is a toll road however motorcycles are except from paying, I like that idea! You have your own special lane to drive in, how sweet is that? The drivers in Colombia are by far the most bold (howís that for being politically correct), they have the Mexican beat hands down. Why they bother with any yellow paint for no passing zones because it sure doesnít mean any thing, straight away, curves, up hill, down hill makes no difference when they feel like passing they pass. You really have to watch when you have the extra passing lane, make sure you stay to the far right except when your passing even then you have to be careful they will use your passing lane going the wrong way. I was making great time until I got to the mountains There was a lot of road work and a ton of truck traffic that just cant handle the inclines and declines. If any one has ever taken Bear Creek Road in Boulder Creek Ca. picture 60 miles of that going up and 60 miles going down. I can not tell you how many police and military checks I went passed, at least 30, plus they had police very well armed with M-16ís M-60ís and M-79ís just about the whole length of the way, I must of passed 700 total police officers, what shitty duty just standing out in the middle of BFE watching traffic. I did see that a very few had portable radar guns. When I got out of the mountains I saw a bunch of bikers in a gas station, so of course I had to pull in, there was even two Harleys in the bunch, these are the first two Harleys I have seen since leaving the states. As luck would have it one of the guys riding the Harley spoke English, he told me that they were on their way to a big bike rally and I should join them, now I couldnít pass that up so a change in plans. We stopped for dinner and had a very nice conversation. The guy with the Harley had his girlfriend with him; she spoke a little English and told me she felt sad that Colombia had such a bad reputation in the States because it was a very pretty and friendly country. That it was a shame that all we hear about in the states is the bad. When we got to the town of the bike rally I told him I had to find a hotel, he said they had rented an apartment for the weekend and if I wish I could stay with them. One thing I have always known and was confirmed here, no matter where you are, what language you speak bikers are the same all over the world. I was told that in the morning we are going to go do some sight seeing, should be fun I really havenít had the chance to do much of that, I will be sure and bring my camera. I almost forgot to mention one of the laws here. All riders and their passengers must have the numbers of the license plate with reflective numbers on their helmets PLUS they have to wear a vest with the numbers on the back, what a pain in the ass, but good for the cops!
October 14th, 2005
I have officially done the most insane thing of my life today!!!!! We went to the motorcycle rally, every thing was very normal, I just sat back and shook my head, if it wasnít for the language difference it was just like any rally in the states, guys dressed the same, the woman dressed the same the only difference was that even those guys not riding Harleys wore Harley gear and t-shirts. What great merchandise market they have! I was surprised to find out that there was a run from the bar to a town about ten miles away and then back, the reason I was surprised was it was getting late and I knew it was going to be dark soon , well in RomeÖÖ. Sitting on my bike I got a bad feeling, you know that gut feeling every one has, I looked over to Juan ( my English speaking new friend) and said ďthis is not going to be goodĒ, hoping he would say your right letís not go..That didnít happen so away we went. Talk about an understatement, I have been trying to think what I could compare it to the first thing that came to mind was the land rush they had when they opened up the west but that wasnít good enough, then I thought of Boston Marathon, now think of all the best runners starting out in the back, the race was only a mile long AND they didnít stop traffic going the other way! When the run starts every one tries to be first. This means passing you any and every way they can. Wait it gets better! Remember that BEAR CREEK ROAD I was talking about a few days ago? Yup you guessed it, the town we were riding to was up that mountain! I thought the ride in town was bad enough; there are no words to describe 500 bikes going up a VERY winding road against traffic in the dark. Among the 500 bikes there where a bunch of
Mosquitoes buzzing you in your sleep. Once we got town it took over an hour to get out of it, the whole town turned out to watch, people were 3-4 deep and just enough room to get the bikes past in single file. As you drove by every one had to touch you, cheer you or whistle at you. Of course my Ultra was a HUGE hit, over the three days it was the only Ultra that I saw! Of course I had the radio playing loud, they loved it. After the cluster F%$$@$k we went to a dance club, the smoke was bad and all they played was that THUMP THUMP THUMP music so I pretty much just went outside and watched people. It started to rain pretty hard so we went back to the room.
October 15th, 2005
Today I canít believe I went on another run with the group, but I was assured that this one wouldnít be so bad, I have to agree it wasnít AS bad but pretty close, the ride ended up at some restaurant where they served a very good chicken and beef lunch. I really enjoyed the ride back, Juan and Jan (not her true name I couldnít pronounce it but it did start out Jan something) took off on our own, I let them ride my bike, I know they really enjoyed that and I was glad to let them. On the way to there we came across an accident scene where a bike was hit by a car and they had two bodies covered with a lot of blood on the ground and on the white sheets, something didnít look right and then I figured it out it was staged! They staged it trying to slow people down; wonder how that would go over in the StatesÖÖya right it was very effective. We saw 4 different ďaccidentsĒ I learned latter that these all did happen at one time in the locations set up and in some cases they used the same vehicle. After the ride we went to a Disco, I have to say Columbians sure love their music and dancing. The Disco was very interesting they played traditional Spanish music. They donít have dance floors in Columbia when you want to dance you just stand next to your table on you table or where ever you want to and dance, makes it hard to get around inside but sure makes it easy. I even got pulled up once or twice, (I have two left feet) but had a great time. Oh I almost forgot saw one of the strangest and funniest things today, during the ride I saw a small (15-20 lbs) black dog brake the rope holding him and started running with us, not barking just balls out running, he passed us and keep running, about ľ mile down the road we passed him up, he was still balls out! Another cluster F$#%%##K was this run took us passed a toll booth, remember motorcycles donít have to pay tolls but the by-pass for motorcycles was narrow and you could only go one at a time and yes every one wanted to be next so after a short brake off we went and Iíll be damn if we didnít pass that dog again, running a little slower but still balls out. I bet heís still running. Must be something in the water that makes everything want to be first!
October 16th, 2005
Last day of the rally, short run (they are getting better) this one took us up to a horse riding ranch. They put on a most excitant show of horsemanship. One of the shows was a bull fight on horse back; they didnít hurt the bull but used a colored stick with needle on the end. The show was very interesting! After that show they picked guys from two local towns for a soccer game, the added twist was they let a bull loose while they were playing. It was hilarious of course the bull won. After the so called soccer game they had a bike show, they made the announcement of who I was, where I was from and what I was doing then made me judge of the bike show. Went to bed early to get an early start in the morning.
October 17th, 2005
Started nice and early, kinda sad to leave Columbia I learned so much about the people of Columbia they are very proud people, proud of their county and proud of their heritage. Hard workers that dislike the rap that they and their county have. The government and the people are working hard to change the reputation they have. I would love to come back and spend more time here learn more about their culture. Made it the border in one day out of Columbia in the morning.
October 18th, 2005
Leaving Columbia was easy, done in less than 15 minutes. Same with getting into Ecuador. Roads were ok to start with but turn really crappy, not spending any time here in and out in two days! Started looking for a hotel about an hour before it got dark but no luck, rode in the dark for a short while until I found an all night gas station, made a motion if I could I could rest here, he shook his head ok, as I started to sit next to the bike he made the motion for me to follow him, he set me up in an office, handed me a pillow and blanket and said he would watch my bike. Slept like a baby! Bike was nice and safe in the morning. Tried to give him some money but he would take it. Huge difference from Columbia and Ecuador, I had gotten so use to every one being so friendly in Columbia that it took me back for a minute driving in the towns of Ecuador. In Columbia when the people heard the bike they all looked up waved whistled gave you the thumbs up or yelled something. In Ecuador not one person looked my way, almost seemed they went out of their way not to look and when I did make eye contact with someone and waved they never waved back. Makes me wonder why.
October 19th, 20th, 21st 2005
Got woke up by another earthquake, no damage that I saw I did have a glass of coke that got shook off the bed table. I was just hoping the roads wouldnít be covered by more rock slides. Roads got really crappy, some of the worst yet but made it to Peru, no problem out of Ecuador or into Peru! Iím going too combined the next 3 days they were all the same. Roads are great in Peru! The sun was deceiving, it was a chilly ride but my face and hands got so fried Iím going to make sure I sunscreen from now on. First hundred miles was open range, a lot of animals to look out for especially goats they are every where. After that miles nothing to look at. Had to be one of the most boring rides Iíve even taken, I went over 3 hours with out seeing another living thing, not a car, truck, plant, tumbleweed, or even a bug on the windshield just sand and mountains plus I had a 30 mph cross wind so I got sandblasted for 3 days. Even the now and then glimpse of the ocean didnít help. My road kill count is going up. To date its one dog one chicken one pigeon, one pig (about the size of a watermelon) and a turkey buzzard that broke my windshield, as I looked in my mirror the others were landing on the road for a warm meal. I talked about the cemeteries here; well they take memorials along side the road to a whole new level. You wouldnít believe what they put up for memorials where someone was killed. What also surprised me was how many there were, almost one every 2 miles! It was kinda scary there was noting to hit, you wonder what happened, they couldíve died of boredom, Iím sure they fell asleep. Some of must have been bus accidents because there was a bunch of different memorials. One point I saw a huge cemetery, what made this one stand out it was 170 miles from the nearest town, I know this because thatís when I got gas! It was as if a whole town died and they buried they right there then wipe away the town. There wasnít a trace of any town, just sand and rocks. I also saw a pretty good size airport with a control tower and all 75 miles from the nearest town. I couldnít figure it out. It was all topped off by the border. This like every thing else was out in the middle of BFE, no warning just over a little hill and your at the border .Things didnít go smooth here either, what else would you expect, I pulled out got out all the paper work I got when I got into the county, he kept shaking his head no and asking for a manifesto, as I tried to explain to him that was all the paper work I had he just kept shaking his head no and asking for the manifesto. To make a long story short after the run around for about 45 minutes I ended up going to a shack that sold food and some lady filled out a ďmanifestoĒ for about 50 cents, go figure, hell I would have paid $20. Once I had it in my hand I was off and running and didnít look back.
I started a list of things that just made me shake my head. One thing you have to remember all these things were out in the middle of nowhere.
I saw a road sign of a tree and sure enough about a half a mile down the road was a four foot tree planted with a water barrow next to it. There was an observation tower at a bus stop, what was there to look at miles and miles of more sand? Then there was the bus stop itself, I saw a bus drop off 6-7 people at one I looked everywhere to where they could be walking to, I saw nothing, where were they going? I saw a huge military air base, surrounded by a high stone wall, every 500 yards there was a guard tower, and they had these towers manned by dummies! Uniforms, helmets and even fake guns, who do they were fooling? I so wanted to take a picture of on of the ďguardsĒ whose helmet had fallen down over his face but didnít dare stop, you never know. Every now and then you would come across a railroad track. They had stop signs at these tracks; apparently they also serve as one of those bus stops to no where. At this one I was behind a bus and truck, the bus had picked up some people and took off, the driver of the truck pulls up to the tracks cones to a complete stop looks left for a few seconds then right for a few seconds then back left for a few seconds. The land was flat and all sand, you could have seen a train coming from 5 miles away but he made sure none was coming, I guess he took the better be safe then sorry seriously, I just shook my head. I think everyone knows what a semi gravel hauler looks like, I saw 5 guys loading one of these with sand by hand, they had it down pat each took his turn 12345,12345 I wonder how long that took? I saw a highway worker washing a guardrail while another load up a wheelbarrow of gravel from one side of the road just to dump it on the other side, just to have another worker rake it out. Reminded me of digging foxholes in the military just to fill them in with the dirt from the next one. Iím sure there are more that Iím forgetting, I am going to pick up one of those pocket recorders and leave myself little reminders as I ride.
October 22nd 23rd 24th, 2005
The Chile roads are also good, landscape is pretty much the same itís about 1400 miles to Santiago. I donít know if I had been in a bad mood or what but I enjoyed the ride a lot more. Maybe because there was a little plant life, better mood or what but did 3 days of hard riding and made it to Santiago. Taking the bike to the Harley shop in the morning to get some work done.
Posted by Craig Hutson at 01:43 PM
Dry at last
Hello fellow riders and friends at home. This has been my first chance to update my blog since leaving. I entered Mexico the morning of the 27th of September. Cost me $29 USC for a 7 day pass for the bike and myself. I had to place a sticker on my windshield for the bike. My plan was to run Mexico 180 all the way south, then take Mexico 186 into Belize. First thing I learned about driving in Mexico is they do not believe in no passing zones I think the law is, if itís bigger then you get out of itís way, the first time a huge semi pulled out in my lane to pass was a big surprise, was 3 wide several times but once you knew what to look for or expect it wasnít that bad. The second thing I learned while driving in Mexico was the speed bumps, if thatís what you want to call them. Some of them are 6 inches high and 4 feet wide and they put them where ever they want! You will be driving along and all of a sudden there one, sometimes they are marked but most of the time they are not, it sure jars your teeth if you don't see one coming and get slowed down, thatís one way to keep you speed down. They also have them at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of every town. In the towns they have 3 types, the huge ones I talked about or they type that are in parking lots back home, just 2-3 inches high and maybe a foot wide, they trouble with this kind is they just donít use one they will put 8-10 back to back feels like your riding over a wash board. The last kind you find in the small town are called vibration strips, these are about 6 feet wide and have one inch ridges and they do vibrate you.. None of these are any good for the bike or you. Another trick in Mexico is when the car in front of you flashes his left turn signal they are telling you its ok to pass that works out pretty good as long as they really are not turning left. You donít have to stick your nose out to see if any one is coming. As long as you stay on your toes driving in Mexico isnít all that bad. Mexico 180 is a nice little ride thatís shows you an average day in the life there. Very poor by any one standards, the houses are no bigger then 15 X 15 with nothing for windows or doors. Kids all wear uniforms to school and are always very clean. There is only one brand of gas in Mexico, but there are plenty of stations and the bike runs well with it. The rate of exchange in Mexico is 10-1, 10 peso for every 1 USC. Over the course of 3 days I ran into 14 military and 6 police check points I was waved past all but 3 but had no problems at the ones that did stop me, they looked at the sticker on the windshield asked me where I was going and where I came from and waved me on didnít ask for papers or search me or the bike. It takes about 15 minutes to turn in all your paper work when you leave Mexico. No problem getting into Belize, no more then 30 minutes. I was surprised to learn almost every one here speaks English. Roads are good here as long as you stay on the main road and don't miss a turn off, ask me how I know this..... After finding a safe place to park the bike in Belize city, I jumped on a water taxi and took it the island of Caye Caulker for a few days of R & R. I recommend any one that goes to Belize City also see some of the islands some great R & R every thing very laid back and some of the best diving. The rate of exchange for Belize is 2-1, 2 Belize for every 1 USC. Made my first mistake in the way I took going from Belize to Guatemala. I entered Guatemala in the town called Benque Viejo. No problems getting in first thing I had to do was take the bike to quarantine cost me about 5 bucks to have my bike sprayed, only thing is they never sprayed it. It had just started to rain pretty good and the guy doing the spraying didnít want to get wet, Iím sure glad of this I could smell what they were spraying and it sure smelled pretty strong what ever it was Iím sure wouldnít have been good for me to be smelling or blowing in my face for the next hundred miles or so. it took less then 30 minutes to get my passport stamped and permit for the bike, they gave me another sticker for the windshield but since it was raining they didnít put in on and just handed it to me, it cost me just a little over $5 usc for my visa. The exchange is about 7-1 USC.I should have known what kind of mistake it was crossing here when I couldn't find a map of Guatemala anywhere in town, but then maybe thatís because their so called roads are not worth the paper and ink it would take to print them up. I found someone to point me to the right road to Guatemala City, what a ride from hell, 59 miles in 10 hours! I don't even know how you would call this a road except it didnít have any thing growing on it. You have a packed dirt road with loose rocks the size of your fist to dodge, with an occasional head size one just to keep you on your toes, then lets not forget the millions of pot holes any where from 6 inches to four feet wide and up to eight inches deep, then there were the ruts from all the traffic and drainage for the water. About 3 hours into this run for fun, it starts to rain and I do mean rain, there is no where to pull over so only thing left to do is go forward. So now this so called road becomes a mud pit, at least the rain helped you see the pot holes but now you couldnít tell how deep they were. Oh yes I forgot to tell you about the snakes, i saw lots of big ass snakes beside the road, so in my eyes that left out stopping any where walking in the weeds to set up a tent. The two or three times I did think about pulling over I knew I would never get the bike back on the road; Harleys just donít have the clearance the BMW's have. Remember those ruts? Well they are now rivers, the pot holes are now lakes and the rocks are still there and I have no idea where Iím at, sound like fun yet? and to top it all off, they have those damn speed bumps in the road as if any one could speed if they wanted to. Wait it gets better it is now dark! Going up hill all you could do is keep the bike gear and don't let it stop, using your feet to keep you up. I did a lit of sliding but could stay away from most of the pot holes and rocks. Going down hill was a different story. It was just a semi controlled slide down, Iím glad I had steel toe boots on; Iím sure kicking some of those rocks could have hurt. I told you they had speed bumps in the middle of all this, well it was at one of these I dropped my bike for the first and only time on this run. But Iím sure not the last time. I was going down hill when right in the middle of no where I saw a six inch high speed bump, I got the bike stopped in time but when I put my foot down it rolled over a rock and over it went. With no footing because of the mud I just stepped away and let it fall, sure didnít want to get pinned under it trying to keep it up. I wasnít going to fight it so now I have my first Scratch in the paint on the fairing. I'm sure it wonít be the last. Because of the poor footing the only way I could pick the bike up was to take off all the t-bags, pick the damn bike up then load every back on, of course doing all this in the dark, rain and mud! I also had to contend with the instant river going across the road due to the drainage of all the rain. Some of these cross washes were a foot deep and five feet wide and moving pretty fast. One wooden bridge I had to cross had big holds in the middle of it, I walked across jumped up and down a few times on it and said "what the F#$%$" kept it on the two good boards and crossed it. It was only about 3 miles past that I hit pavement, nothing felt so good to be riding on. I found a hotel shortly after that and called it a night.........The day is now October 4th Iím all refreshed, got most everything cleaned of mud and semi dry and started out. As it turns out Guatemala is a beautiful ride, I didn't realize how mountainous South America was. The vegetation is so rich. it was turning out to be the prettiest ride so far on this trip. Guatemala City was very confusing to me. Not very many road signs and it took me two hours to get out; at least I got to see the city. It started to rain pretty hard again, traffic was terrible and no place to be on a motorcycle. So out of Guatemala City heading to El Salvador. I came across a few minor mudslides so you really had to be careful and alert, right in the middle of the road could be any thing from a hand full of fist size rocks to boulders to half a hill. That's just what happened, all of a sudden the traffic stopped and there was a huge mud slide covering the road. Couldnít go forward cause of the slide, couldn't go back because of the busses and trucks so there I sat for 4 hours while they cleared it up. I was going to wait a little while once they reopened the road just to let the other traffic clean up what was left behind. That idea didn't last long I would have been run over if I stayed where I was so what has been my favorite saying over the past 2 days? "What the f$#@$" and rode on. What they considered "cleared" was 6 inches of mud and any rock the size of you fist. I knew if I dropped it here I would just become a speed bump in the road. Slipping and sliding I made it across. About 10 miles down the road I found a hotel and parked my ass. I do know the riding I have done over the past 2 days has given me all the confidence I need to know I can handle any type of road ahead of me......yes even on a Harley! But the truth be known a few times back here I wish I was on one of the BMW's. October 5th, still raining like a SOB come to find out hurricane "Stan" has been doing some damage up and down Central America. I figured I will sit around and see what happens. It stopped raining long enough for me to load the bike up, i'm only 2 or so hours from San Salvador figured I can be there by 3. Crossing over into El Salvador was no problem, this was the first time someone went out and looked at my bike to make sure the VIN matched the paperwork. Visa was $10 USC, as it turns out that is the currency they use here USC. Great 4 lane road going into San Salvador, in my mind Iím thinking in by 3, hot shower, hot meal boy was I wrong. About 10 miles out side of San Salvador I get stopped
by police road block they inform me that the city of San Salvador is closed! All the roads into the city are blocked with mud slides. I get out my map and ask what about this way NO, how about this way? NO. Every thing is closed; they were not being mean or tough just doing what they were told, very polite. I turned around pulled over and was sitting in the rain looking at the map trying to figure out what way to go when another police officer in a car pulled next to me, his English was about as good as my Spanish. One of the things I have not told you about my-self is that I am a retired Illinois State Police sergeant; I let him know I was a cop. He got on his radio and talked for a short while then told me to follow him. He led me to his HQ and introduced me to the commander. He asked me to step into his office; his English was a little better. I told him my plan was to spend the night in San Salvador then head over to Nicaragua in the morning, he kept telling me "we have many problems here" I donít think he was talking danger to me but because of the mud slides. After half hour of him making phone calls he called in the person who introduced us gave him an order and told me to follow him. He shook my hand told me it was a pleasure to meet me and good luck. I followed the police officer to a garage where we sat for a little while, of course the Harley was a big hit with all the officers and I let them sit on it and take some pictures on it. A short while later another police officer showed up on a bike, my officer jumped on the back of the other police officers bike and we took off. After about a 15 minute ride we stopped and the driver of the motorcycle got off and my new friend jumped on his bike and told me to follow him. He took me up, around, over, past and 45 minutes later we were in the heart of San Salvador. He took me to another HQ where again I was introduced to the commander She spoke very good English and asked me to come up to her office. She explained to me about all the mud slides and that many people are being killed and that if I could stay one extra night in San Salvador it would be much safer for me. I told her no problem I would stay as long as she thought I should, I did tell her I only had a 5 day pass and she informed me that if I was here any longer they could and would change that. I checked into the Radisson Hotel and am awaiting a phone call from her. Three different police officers have come to my room seeing if I needed or wanted any thing. It truly is an extended family no matter where you go. Until next time see you somewhere down the road
Posted by Craig Hutson at 03:49 PM