Meeting people on the road is one of the cool things that happens, it can change the day, dissolve any possible plans and lead you off on paths that you would never normally take.
First we met Evan, a Canadian doing the trip on his own. He spotted the bikes, we started talking and decided to ride to Tikal the next morning together.
Tikal is another "must do" backpacker pyramid touristy site.
As we changed out of our bike gear in the car park, two more bikers pulled in, Mike and Alex from Alaska, they had the same model bikes as Evan, so we started talking and now we were five. After touring the site we met up for beer in the evening back in Flores and Mike suggested we all head off to a remote hostel he had heard about, but is never advertised.
It sounded like a plan.
It has probably led to the most exciting, exhilarating, white knuckle inducing days riding I have had so far. The off the beaten track roads in Mexico we used with Jim, Tony and Gavin were just a warm up.
Back to riding in a group again, with no one really sure really sure of which way the road we wanted was as Guatemala probably has the worst road signing we have come across yet (and helpful locals who seem to give you any directions they can think of rather than admitting they do not know the way). It took us over half an hour to find the road. And what a good road, great surface, fast bends and well signposted "Tumulus" (the Guatemalan Topes). Then the road ran out and we had to take a ferry. Or what looked more like a flat platform, with a thatched cabin and a motor.
The road conditions kept changing, some times we had brand new fresh tarmac, others times it was loose gravel for miles in the middle of road works, and then it just stopped being a road. It was marked on all the maps as Highway 5. But it was little more than a dirt track.
A dirt track that wound its way up int the mountains with large boulders, tight climbing hairpin bends (with boulders) and trucks filled to overflowing with people being transported to and from the many isolated hamlets.
This went on for over 30 miles, it was slow progress and we knew the sun would set just after 17:00, we had no choice but to carry on hoping the rain that was threatening stayed off. If it had started to rain we had agreed we would just stop and pitch the tents as no one wanted to ride the rocks in the wet.
We were all elated when we found the turn off for the hostel, at the same place the real road started again. However we had another 5 miles of dirt track to negotiate, which didn't pass without incident.
Earlier in the day, Jean had told me that she felt it would be best if she had a slow spill on her bike on a dirt road to get it over and done with. They say you should be careful what you wish for.
Mike and I had hung back to try keep an eye on Jean, and then she wasn't there. We waited, we waited a bit longer, so I turned round and went back up the hill. I found her being helped to pull the bike upright by some passing locals. I tried park my bike, managed to get the side stand down. got the road camber wrong and dropped it, so they had to help me as well.
Jean was OK and smiling, she had not negotiated the bend properly as a car came round and had taken a comedy roll off the road and down the hill. Which fortunately was covered in soft grass and bushes, not one of the big drop offs.
Looks like I need to get the gaffa tape out on the indicator. I can straighten the brake lever, but she will have to live with the dented pannier. However the dented confidence may take a bit longer to resolve.
The trip was worth it.
A "thatched" Rancho that has a bar, restaurant and dorms, nestled on a hill top near the village of Lanquin with lush green mountains surrounding it.
We arrived (finally) just minutes before the bus came in (it left Flores at 0900 to our 11:00 so I think we had a better time). Jean and I nabbed the last private room.
A room with a view.
The place is idyllic, the people (owners, bar staff and guests) laid back and friendly.
I partied into the night, and now its chill out time.Posted by Bruce Porter at November 28, 2010 05:01 PM GMT
Next HU Events
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- Greece: June 5-8
- Bulgaria Mini: June 13-14
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- Montenegro: June 26-29
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!
Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!