March 29, 2002 GMT
Kevin's Solo Adventure

After Getting separated from Dale and I, our third riding partner, Kevin comtinued on to see Tikal and Belize then rode up the east coast of mexico. Following is his email from 12/31/2001

Well - I got such a good response to the last email, I thought Iíd send another. I think Iíll start with the part that I left out the last time. You see, I crossed the jungle of Guatemala under the light of a full moon. It wasnít the best idea líve ever had. After leaving Tikal, it was just beginning to get dark and I noticed that there is a road less than an hours ride away that goes from El Remate Guatemala to Ciudad Melchor Guatemala, which is just accross the border from San Iglasies Belize. Once I get to El Remate the road is only about 40 miles across the juncle. I figured I could be in Belize that night. For some reason, as soon as I got on the road at El Remate, I got the creeps. Iím not sure what it was, Iím thinking that is the road that those tourists got robbed, killed, etc. on a couple of years ago. Iím not sure about that, but for some reason the road had me spooked from the start. But hey, itís only 40 miles, how long can that take? The condition of the road wasnít bad at the start, it wasnít as good as highway CAl 3 that I turned off of, but what the heck, Iím on a dual sport bike, so no problem. After just a few miles, the road started to take a turn for the worse, in the form of large potholes. Some of them extended all the way across the lane, and some were deep enough to sink a wheel in up to the axle. I was starting to figure out why there was no traffic. But what the heck, I had the full moon so I could see the potholes in time to dodge them. lf only the humidity wasnít making my visor fog up all the time. Ride with the visor up until your eyes are watery and then ride with it down until it fogs up, then repeat. And there were horses all over the road. Some of them dead, apparently due to bus traffic. Once the horses get killed, they just drag them off the side of the road and let the buzzards have them. It takes a long time to get rid of a horse carcass that way. The live horses were the real hazard though. Not to mention the pigs. And the dogs. And the people. And then, they started cooking dinner and the smoke from the fires settled on the road to further impair the visibility. OK, so I slow down to 35 or 40 mph to give me time to dodge to obstacles. Still, it shouldnít take much more than an hour to cross the jungle and Iíll be in Belize. If I donít have a fiat. And sure, Iíve only got one piston, one spark plug, one coil, etc., but all those things are pretty reliable. Then the asphalt ended. The road surface turned to something like a dry creek bed. I hit a rut so deep that it jarred me enough to knock one hand off the handle bars. I almost went down. I wonder how long a guy could lay out here with a broken leg. It is a dual sport bike, but a severely overloaded one. Now Iím thinking, am I on the right road? Would there be a border crossing station on a road like this? Even if there is, would it be open at night, and if not are there places to sleep at Melchor? And what if the road is like this on the Belize side also? It would take me all night to get to Belize City on this kind of road. And Iím thinking I wished I had more than half a tank of gas. I hadnít filled up at El Remate because the Gas Station didnít look reputable, and I reasoned that half a tank of proven gas is better than a full tank of suspect gas. The good news is that a KLR can go 150 miles on half a tank of gas, but is that enough to get me to Belize City if there are no gas stations enroute? Well, to make a long story long, since the guy just told me that the internet place is closing, I turned around, rode 40 miles back to a hotel, and decided to save that part of the adventure to the daylight hours. It was a little better in the light, I made it across the jungle, I crossed Belize yesterday, and Iím back in Mexico today, just north of Villa Hermosa. Iím going to try to be back in Omaha by Sunday.

Posted by Frank Tabor at March 29, 2002 01:48 AM GMT

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