Friday, March 6, 2015

Pavement Wanted (said no adventure rider, EVER…)

…Except for us last night.

Sun is setting low, and we have MILES left to go :/

When you intend to ride for a long way on dirt, you get excited for it. When you intend to make it to a certain destination, you get excited for it. When you encounter dirt that you didn’t expect and it’s not nice, fun dirt, but instead is pot-hole ridden nasty dirt and it keeps you from making it to your destination… well, that gets old eventually.

We left Semuc Champey, a place we would have loved to relax at for the remainder of the day, because there were heavy rain clouds moving in and we knew that we could get stuck for days in Semuc if the road became impassable due to rain.

We had another 20-30 kilometers on dirt… dirt we knew was going to be there and would be of the fun variety. Then the rest of the way to Lake Atitlan would be pavement, according to Roel’s map. According to my map, that was not the case.

But I’ll be honest, I was really hoping it was paved:
1. My hands were hurting (perhaps I’m gripping the handlebars a little too tightly where the road-side cliff drop-offs are substantial and the shoulder is not so substantial.)
2. I had the biker equivalent of diaper rash (sorry folks, it’s not all sunshine and butterflies).
3. But also, it doesn’t sound like the bikes love vibrating over the sharp rocks and un-avoidable potholes.

We stocked up on food and water in Coban and within a dozen kilometers, we were back on dirt. Oh joy. And here we thought we were going to make it to Atitlan today. Oops.

Again, the sun began to set while we were dodging potholes and sharp rocks, speeding cargo trucks and cheeky passenger buses. When we finally hit pavement, I was tempted to get off my bike and kiss it, but the sky was nearly dark and we had 20 kilometers left to go before the next town. Fortunately said town (Chicaman) yielded a cheap hotel with ample parking within the first few kilometers.

ALWAYS check for hitchhikers after you've been camping in the jungle!

Frightening shower situation.

We “dined” at the comedor next-door and finally had an almost Guatemalan meal: black beans fried plantains, rice and… some version of chicken mc-nuggets. Oh well.

The incredible road down to Lake Atitlan.

And finally, we saw Lake Atitlan. The incredible beauty of the lake surrounded by volcanoes, including the hair-pin dirt road down to San Pedro la Laguna, made arriving at Hotel Penelue (a hint from David) that much more of a welcome respite. Besides gazing at the lake, we spent today cleaning our helmet liners (full of dust and sweat), washing and conditioning our Racer gloves and getting our laundry done.

We rewarded ourselves a bit

And breath.

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