Doug Ruth's 1996/97 Trip Report Summary #2
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 10:15:32 -0800
To: BMW -GS motorcycles mailing list
Subject: Trip Report - October Summary
WHERE AM I NOW?
I'm writing (and hopefully sending) this from Antigua Guatemala.on November
Oct 2 - Mexican/Belize border at Santa Elena Belize, near Chetumal, Mexico.
Oct 12 - Belize/Guatemalan border at Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize and
Ciudad Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala
- Sheared a stud which is part of the left front bracket for my Jesse
luggage. That bolt also bolts the rear subframe to the main frame.
Incidently this is the 2nd time this has happened to me, the first being
in Baja on a previous trip. This happened on the potholed and washboard
road from Flores, in the north Peten of Guatemala, to Poptun in the south
of the Peten.
The problem was compounded, by IMHO a poor design in which the stud is
welded to the bracket, precluding simply replacing it with another
Fortunately the Finca (ranch) I stayed at that nigh had a machine shop
and I was able to fix it the way I should have after it broke the first
time: by drilling and tapping the bracket to accept a bolt from the
other side. That way when it breaks again, which it most likely will,
all I have to do is back out the remnants of the broken bolt and replace
it with a new bolt.
- Was able to rerivet and repair my seat latch at the ranch also.
- The brake pads for my Harrison caliper wore out after only 10K miles, and
I had to replace them with my only spare set. I'll need to acquire
one or two more sets before this trip is over.
- Another rear flat tire in San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
- Steering head bearing have developed a slight notch at center, but nothing
which is a problem.
- Bought a new set of Bridgestone tires in Guatemala City (actually on
BIKE DROPS, SPILLS, AND CRASHES
PROBLEMS WITH THEFT, VANDALISM, POLICE, CHECKPOINTS?
- In Todos Santos, in the Guatelaman highlands north of Huehuetenango, I had
my "fake" wallet pickpocketed. I say "fake" because it contained only
expired credit cards and an expired drivers license. Normally I only
carry one day's supply of cash, but I had gotten a bit lax and had
about 3*4 days cash, 450Q or about US$90. It was in my right, rear
pants pocket, which has a velcro flap. It happened somewhere among the
large crowds watching a horse "race" (see below). From now on I'll carry
my replacement "fake" wallet in a front pants pocket.
My "real" wallet, which has my credit cards, ATM card, and drivers license
is kept in an inside, zipped pocket of my Mountainsmith Tourpack which
I always carry with me when I'm off the bike.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
- Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize - many different species of
- Bermudian Landing Community Baboon Sanctuary - Howler monkeys actually,
but they're called baboons in Belize.
- Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize - Caves, waterfalls, cascades, and pools.
- Caracol Mayan Ruins, Belize - Spectacular ruins in a lush jungle setting.
Highest manmade structure in Belize. Fun G/S road to get there.
- Tikal Mayan Ruins, Guatemala - Majestic pyramids surrounded by jungle.
From the top of Temple 4 watched spider monkeys and toucans in the
- Road from Flores (near Tikal) south to Rio Dulce - great G/S road, though
the potholes and washboard can be rough on the bolts.
- Antigua, Guatemala - old colonial architecture, cobblestone streets,
good restaurants, spectacular volcanos looming overhead, great place
to hang out for several days, or even a week.
- Lake Atitlan, Guatemala - Beautiful lake surrounded by three 9000+ foot
volcanoes, with 10 or so small villages along it's shores.
- Road around Lake Atitlan - I rode completely around the lake, something
that every guidebook I had read implied was next to impossible to do.
It nearly was, as a couple steep, rocky uphill stretches had my feet off
the pegs and me grabbing as much throttle as I could to keep my forward
- Todos Santos, Guatemala - Culmenation of their weeklong festival on All
Saints Day, November 1. Highlight of the day was the horse "race" in
which participants rode from one end of the town to the other, stopping
at each end to take a drink. The "winner" was the rider still on his
horse at the end of the day.
- Chichicastenango, Guatemala - big Sunday marketplace.
WHAT WAS MY ROUTE?
The following is a brief summary of my route, naming thecity/town I stayed
in that night.
1 Chetumal. Quintana Roo, Mexico
2 Crossed the border into Belize
2-3 Corozal, Belize
4-5 Crooked Tree, Belize
6 Bermudian Landing, Belize
7-8 San Ignacio, Belize
9 Douglas de Silva, Belize (Mountain Pine Ridge Preserve Ranger Statio
10-11 Clarissa Falls, Belize (just west of San Ignacio)
12 Crossed the border to Guatemala
12 Flores, Guatemala, island in Lake Peten Itza
13-14 El Remate, on the shore of Lake Peten Itza
15-18 Poptun, Guatemala
19 Ranchito del Quetzal
20-25 Antigua, Guatemala
26 Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
27 Santiago Atitlan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
28-29 San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
30 Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
31 Todos Santos, Guatemala
1 Todos Santos, Guatemala
2-3 Chichicastenango, Guatemala
4-7 San Bartolome Milpas Atlas, Guatemala (near Antigua)
WHERE AM I HEADED FROM HERE?
- When I leave here, hopefully tomorrow November 8, I will head to the
Honduran border near the town of Copan Ruinas, near the Mayan ruins of
the same name.
- From there I don't know what my route through Honduras will be; I need
to study my guidebook more.
- I do know I will travel from Honduras to Nicaragua to Costa Rica and then
to Panama. I'll pick up El Salvador on the way back north.
- I plan to travel through the remaining Central American countries faster
than I have travelled through Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. I can see
things I miss when I return on my way north. I'd rather run out of time
or money when I'm back in Central America, rather than down in South
America. From California it's easier to come back to Central America
than it is to South America.